A Future of Faith – The Path of Change in Politics and Society
Pope Francis – with Dominique Wolton
Many thanks to Brother Ed Carmody for introducing me to (and lending me) this book. This is a question and answer format book with an author and the Pope. The author, Dominique Wolton, was selected by the Pope, he is a proud Frenchman, a true believer in the European Union, the French Revolution and has deep concerns over the way globalization and communication technologies are shaping the world. The book is very Euro-centric, and hardly mentions the US at all.
I have to admit, Pope Francis has been a puzzle to me. He is often quoted making some statement that raises a ruckus. Yet when I dig into the matter, in depth, I find he doesn’t really teach or say anything different from Pope Benedict the XVI or Pope John Paul II. In the book, it is obvious that this is a very smart man with very different life experiences and education than I have. He is quite concerned with what he calls “Politics with a capital P”. In the end, this means discussions, real discussions; person to person and peoples to peoples. He has much less patience for what we would call politics, two or more parties struggling within their government framework to extract the most they can.
Here are some of my favorite things he says in the book, things that really make me think:
“In today’s world, 62 people own as much wealth as 3.5 billion poor people.”
“The Bible tells us that God hears the cry of His people, and I wish to join my voice to yours in calling for the three Ls for all our brothers and sisters: land, lodging and labor. I have said it before and I will say it again: these are sacred rights.”
“Four evils of the press: disinformation, slander, defamation, coprophilia.” (look that one up – OUCH!)
“You know how an Argentinian commits suicide? He climbs to the top of his ego and jumps off.” (The pope is Argentinian)
The Pope is approachable, knowledgeable and funny. He has some pretty sharp comments for people and systems he sees as contributing to isolation, ideologies, and situations that prevent all people from having the dignity of a good job, a place to live and land to own, good land that has not been corrupted, land that can feed and sustain people. His number one concern is with dignity of a good job, that can support one’s family.
There were a couple of statements, made by Pope Francis that I just couldn’t wrap my head around. But these were two or three in number. For the most part I found myself agreeing with what he had to say and gaining a better understanding of him and where he wants to lead the church.
I recommend reading this book.