Pope Francis

Moral authority

Happy Easter, everyone. On Maundy Thursday, Pope Francis pissed off a lot of conservatives on the internet by performing the tradition of foot washing on Muslim refugees only days after jihadis killed a lot of people in Brussels. It might not be readily apparent, but conservatives on the internet were, as usual, being strategically retarded.

Something bad happened in Pakistan early on Easter Sunday, which fit into the idea of this post perfectly enough to get me to actually write it. Another Islamic terrorist attack happened, this time targeting Christians who were celebrating the holiday in Pakistan, resulting in the death of 67 people.

So, the time makes it clear that while Christianity responds responds to violence with peace, and Islam responds to peace with violence. The contradictions are piling up. Conservatives condemning the pope are making a mistake that is the complement of the mistake made by moderate Muslims who refuse to take a meaningful stand against terrorism: they underestimate the importance of moral authority. The timing was so perfect that a conspiracy theorist might guess that someone is trying to make Islam look terrible.

Is Christianity the religion of love and sacrifice? Because Muslims say the same thing about their religion. But talk is cheap, and people believe what they see.

The disjunction in optics continues to become more and more skewed in this direction, and that can only be a good thing. Islam is a bad system of ideas, and bad systems of ideas need to lose moral authority.

Pope Francis ticks off both the left and right

Reprinted from the Press and Journal

I’m not Catholic, but man do I love this pope.

Ever since Jorge Mario Bergoglio, otherwise known as Pope Francis, was confirmed as the Vicar of Christ in March of 2013, he’s been boggling the minds of religious and political observers.

Born to Italian immigrants in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Francis grew up in a lower-middle class environment in a country about as politically clean as the mob. He came of age in a place very much removed from stable public order. This upbringing led to become the head of the Jesuit order in Argentina at a time of dictatorship and domestic strife.

It is from this background that the Pontiff learned the importance of giving the needy a voice in human society.

All this and more make Francis a fascinating character.

His tenure as Bishop of Rome has been spent reaching out to the margins of society – the poor, the diseased, the lost and forgotten. Not long after being confirmed, he was photographed kissing the head of a disfigured man, an act of profound grace. During his recent trip to Washington, he snubbed a bunch of congressmen to visit a homeless shelter.

The caritas Francis has spread has not come without controversy, however.