“Whether they are traveling because of poverty, or violence, or with the hope of reuniting with relatives on the other side of the border, it is urgent to protect them and help them because their vulnerability is greater and they are defenseless against any abuse or misfortune”.
Pope Francis has hit the news several times in two days and the subjects of debate are shocking and straightforward: the Vatican admitted that at least 2% of all clergy (including bishops and cardinals) are ... pedophiles. Addressing the subject, the pontiff also questioned the efficacy of celibacy (!). And with a very quick shift in gears, Francis made pointed remarks about other juvenile victims: the refugees flooding Texas, Arizona and California borders from Central America.
"The Diocese of West Texas released this photo Wednesday of Central American refugee children apprehended at the southern U.S. border. Tens of thousands of them have fled their homes in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, hoping to reunite with relatives in the North. It’s a humanitarian crisis, government agencies are overwhelmed, and the diocese is working with Episcopal Relief and Development and other agencies to find shelter, safety and legal protection for these refugees. It’s like a human earthquake, caused by violence and worsened by politicians; meanwhile Episcopalians and other churches are trying to focus on the kids." From The Daily Office.
The former Republican presidential candidate said that he knew refugees would send the message back to their families that troops were on the border because “their conversations are being monitored with calls back to Central America, and the message is ‘Hey, come on up here, everything is great, they’re taking care of us.’ And that needs to stop.”
No, Perry could have been pleased with the Pope's plea for unconditional compassion.
And neither could Rush Limbaugh:
There's a typical headline here about what happened in Murrieta, California. It's from Reuters: "Anti-Immigration Protesters Block Undocumented Migrants in California." That headline is a lie in several ways. One, these people were not protesting immigration. They were protesting illegal immigration and dumping, number one. And then Reuters called these kids migrants.
He also stated that many of the children probably carried communicable diseases.
Murietta, CA is part of affluent Riverside County. Check that: it's THE most affluent part of Riverside County. And the most Republican. And the least diverse. And the least Hispanic. It may have the only all-Rush Limbaugh and all-Sean Hannity cable channels in the country. Naturally, it hates any form of illegal immigrants, from babies to octogenarians.
“The Town Where Immigrants Hit a Human Wall,” read a New York Times headline. “In California, an Immigration Flashpoint,” proclaimed The Washington Post. And the "flashpoint" was countered by faith-based organizations in the border states willing to help the children, taking Francis' plea to heart.
Murietta is now a shouting match.
Leprosy In The House
"Many of my co-workers who struggle with me reassure me with reliable data that assess pedophilia within the church at the level of 2 percent. This finding should reassure me but I must tell you that I do not [find it] reassuring at all. I consider it very serious indeed. ... I find this situation intolerable and I intend to tackle it with the seriousness it requires," he reportedly said in an interview with Eugenio Scalfari for the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica.He called the 2% a "leprosy in the house", just days after he met with abuse survivors and begged forgiveness.
The Vatican officially denied parts of the interview, giving shadings to the "2%" comment. It also denied that the Pope commented on finding a solution to celibacy.
Whatever the pending reactions to the outspoken Francis, it is clear that his devotion to children and the less fortunate is not to be diminished or demeaned by pundits like Rush Limbaugh, or negated by politicians like Rick Perry.