Did the Pope Actually Say That?

The Pope makes headlines when he does what any decent person would do

I’d hate to be the guy (or gal) who got chewed out by the Pope last week in Mexico. Talk about a straight-line to Purgatory! Just kidding. I’m more concerned with how the media packages up other people’s words, including even the Pontiff.

This is the Pope being yanked by the hand over a crippled man in a wheelchair.

This is the Pope being yanked by the hand over a crippled man in a wheelchair.

Check out the headlines:

These headlines reveal to me great power in media. Before clicking through and reading the articles (let alone actually watching the 35 second viral video), I have images of an excommunication trial. “Meanie Pope rebuking poor Mexican.” It was nothing of the kind.

The same kind of disdain was voiced when the Pope gave his speech to the US Congress last year. I encourage you to read the Pope’s entire speech to the US Congress. Here are the headlines:

I hope you aren’t just reading headlines from opinionated folks. From the Left or the Right.

Allow me to sum them all this up this way: People hate the Pope, so they will pounce on anything he says or does. When you actually consider the fact that he was pulled over a handicapped man in a wheelchair by a crazy fan, you find that the media from both ends of the spectrum are being incredibly deceptive.

The same goes for his speeches. Don’t read the headlines. Read his words. Here are a few from his speech to Congress:

“If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.”

“Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12). This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”

“I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.”

“When countries which have been at odds resume the path of dialogue – a dialogue which may have been interrupted for the most legitimate of reasons – new opportunities open up for all. This has required, and requires, courage and daring, which is not the same as irresponsibility. A good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism. A good political leader always opts to initiate processes rather than possessing spaces (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 222-223).”

“How essential the family has been to the building of this country! And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement! Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.”

“At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that we live in a culture which pressures young people not to start a family, because they lack possibilities for the future. Yet this same culture presents others with so many options that they too are dissuaded from starting a family.”

See? The only people who think poorly of the man are people who are paying too much attention to the headlines.