Dear Mr Bergoglio
I don’t hear a lot about you, but what I’ve heard over the last few months struck me, a man in the street rather than a man in the pew, very favourably.
There was your speech attacking people trafficking. It needed to be said, and with your weight behind it, more support and cash may hopefully flow into the anti-trafficking campaign.
Then there was your vocal support for the Roma, a discriminated-against group if ever there was one. Have you perhaps thought of inviting some of them to come to Italy and live in the city of Roma, like you did? Perhaps you could help them find accommodation? As Head of State in the Vatican, I’m sure you could put some of your empty rooms to good use. There’s that Benedict fellow – you could send him packing for a start and free up his apartment for a persecuted refugee family. He can afford to pay his way and stay in a nice hotel somewhere. It’s about time your State (the only one in the world with a zero birth rate and no women citizens) became more like a proper little country with nappies drying on the line and the sounds of children playing.
And it would be in accordance with the will of your predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, who, in his encyclical ‘Rerum Novarum’, quotes the ‘holy doctor’ St Thomas Aquinas: “Man should not consider his material possessions as his own, but as common to all, so as to share them without hesitation when others are in need. Whence the apostle saith ‘Command the rich of this world to offer with no stint, to apportion largely’.”
You even attacked your church’s links with the mafia. Brave man. But is anyone listening ? Only this week I read of a village in southern Italy where the church procession left the route agreed in advance with the police and detoured up the street to a mafia boss’s house to pay their respects to him! I guess some old customs die hard.
Well, Mr Bergoglio, I’m beginning to think you can ‘talk the talk’, but I am a long way from being convinced that you can ‘walk the walk’.
Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc.
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