Pope Francis Vists Inmates

Pope Francis has concluded his visit to the U.S. It was a big success. Today, among other stops, he visited a jail in Philadelphia and met with inmates.

Pope Francis also rebuked society for not doing enough to rehabilitate prisoners. “It is painful when we see prison systems which are not concerned to care for wounds, to soothe pain, to offer new possibilities,” the pope said, speaking in Spanish through an interpreter. “It is painful when we see people who think that only others need to be cleansed, purified, and do not recognize that their weariness, pain and wounds are also the weariness, pain and wounds of society.”

...Visiting the imprisoned is a traditional good work in the Catholic Church, one of the seven corporal works of mercy.

< Report on DEA Misconduct | Trump to Unveil New Tax Plan, Falls in Poll >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Thought of you, J... (none / 0) (#1)
    by ZtoA on Sun Sep 27, 2015 at 07:46:52 PM EST

    "I am here as a pastor, but above all as a brother, to share your situation and to make it my own," he told the roughly 100 men and women detainees, drawn at random, at Curran-Fromhold. "Jesus doesn't ask us where we've been and he doesn't ask us what we've done," Francis said.

    He said the Gospel story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples reflected the need in ancient times to soothe dusty, cut up feet, and used it to signal the possibility of redemption. "All of us need to be cleansed," he said, adding, "It is painful when we see prison systems, which are not concerned to care for wounds, to soothe pain, to offer new possibilities," he said.

    As he spoke, burly inmates, some with shaved heads and dreadlocks and one with a tattoo crawling up his neck, watched intently. After the speech, Francis walked along the rows of inmates sitting in chairs, shaking hands, chatting, laying his hand on their foreheads and hugging a few. Ron Cianci, 55, who said he would be inside for about six months, said afterward that he had asked and had received a blessing. "Right now I feel elated, kind of a little bit high on life," he said.

    There is an HBO Vice (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Sep 27, 2015 at 07:51:50 PM EST
    episode tonight (in ten minutes) on the prison system.

    SEPTEMBER 26, 2015, 7:49 AM|HBO is set to show a special report on America's criminal justice system from Vice, an international news channel. It features footage from President Obama's historic visit to a federal prison in Oklahoma earlier this year. He met with six inmates in an unprecedented conversation about the problems plaguing the system.

    I have to wonder how many of the (none / 0) (#3)
    by scribe on Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 09:00:51 AM EST
    Christians who exuberantly proclaim their faith as the reason and guide for all their political and other work actually have ever been inside a prison.
    Even for a minute.
    Even to visit a client.

    I kinda think some tiny percentage would be the answer.

    IIRC, George W. Bush (none / 0) (#4)
    by scribe on Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 09:07:12 AM EST
    only dealt with prisons and prisoners when he got the opportunity to mock their pleas for mercy.

    Pope P.R. is at it again (none / 0) (#5)
    by Dadler on Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 09:26:31 AM EST
    I hope we all realize that is all yap yap with nothing behind it. The Pope's imaging and message machine, if one doesn't know, is controlled by a former FOX News idiot.

    Everyone is being played by this cat. But, hey, he sides with Kim Davis and actually, comically, absurdly, stupidly, describes her as a conscientious objector.

    Pope Francis is a bag of hot air, hoping to re-up the church's coffers by saying appealing things to more affluent Catholics who have stopped giving money in the wake of the pedophile scandal in the Church. But remember, he hasn't implemented a single substantial reform of the church, but is asking every other secular institution to change. Hypocrisy of the highest order.

    All the fake quotes going around about him, quotes extolling gay people and atheists, it's such a piece of marketing emptiness, it's really amazing to behold all the people taken in by it. Count me as skeptical and dubious and not buying an inch of it.

    As for his little prison visit, ok, nice, now go change your church, which is responsible for much poverty and suffering also. Who would argue with him capitalism sucks for humanity much of the time. But so does monotheism, to the same degree.

    I tend to agree with every word (none / 0) (#6)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 09:32:52 AM EST
    That said.  If so, he is very good.

    I have to say I was, for the very first time - trust me the VERY first time, in my life moved by a Pope when he stood in front of millions and said even if you think it's all a fairy tail, wish me luck.

    At that moment I genuinely wished him luck.  I want to believe it.   As do so many.  The trump card.  I agree with you.


    LINK (none / 0) (#7)
    by Dadler on Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 09:40:22 AM EST
    Pope P.R. (link)

    The ban on birth control, by itself, is a huge driver of poverty and women's oppression. That he doesn't even mention that, eff him. He can't be seen as seriously caring about poverty or women with that inhumane and g*ddamn ban in place. Nope, sorry Francis, but you are largely full of it to me.


    You guys are both right... (none / 0) (#13)
    by fishcamp on Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 05:39:03 PM EST
    U.S. Constitution & laws thereunder (none / 0) (#8)
    by christinep on Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 12:19:26 PM EST
    ...the interpretation of a foreign government's laws is solely a matter for that country.  IOW, the matter of Kim Davis' actions appropriately is a matter of U.S. interpretation.  

    We all know that the Pope has strong convictions about conscience and his understanding of conscientious objection.  We all should also know that neither the question on the plane nor any answer that would be interpreted as an authoritative response under U.S. concepts/realities is without merit.  

    Frankly ... the concept & practice of conscientious objection is not unique to the U.S.  Sometimes when one exercises that very personal right of conscience--in violation of the law--we might agree with that exercise.  For example: Vietnam draft evaders, M. Gandhi's superb practice of disobedience.  But, I'm assuming that we also know about the civilian law consequences of violation.  One of my favorite plays deals, profoundly, with the issue of interpretations of "God's Law" & "Man's Law" ... Euripides' ANTIGONE.  (In the play, remember that Antigone's views surpass & overcome her sister Iphigenia's belief in what the latter called natural law.)

    There is a lesson to be relearned in ANTIGONE. In any land and on any issue, there are individuals that will hold to what might be termed "conscience" for them while--at the same time--that is indirect contradiction to the law.  And, usually, the law should and does win.  

    As I understand it, the Pope was asked the ethical question on the plane on his return trip to Rome--without the specific context of the recent Kentucky situation & Kim Davis.  Whether the question was a "gotcha" question or not (as we so often do here) really doesn't matter.  What does matter is that we have the United States legal answer under our system of government right now.  No need to "Pope bash" .... no need to do the "gotcha" thing either.



    In my second paragraph above (none / 0) (#9)
    by christinep on Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 12:25:40 PM EST
    strike the incorrect "is without"  and insert "has" <merit> in actual application here.

    Look: The Pope is stressing individual conscience ... his own. Each of us has his/her own conscience as he sees it.  Including you.  (And, again, he is not pretending to tell the U.S. how to interpret its civil law; nor should he.)


    Got your rationalizing hat on? (none / 0) (#10)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 12:59:49 PM EST
    Pope Francis appeared to weigh in on the side of anti-gay-marriage clerk Kim Davis, saying government workers have a "human right" to refuse to carry out a duty if they have a "conscientious objection."

    Have at it


    I cannot think of a human being (none / 0) (#11)
    by christinep on Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 01:40:57 PM EST
    with whom I agree with every word/statement uttered.  

    Not rationalizing; only making an honest statement.

    One of the biggest challenges in American life--or in any democracy or would-be democracy/republic--involves the inevitable conflict that occurs when public law and private belief clash.  That should not be surprising.  For me, as an American, I most strongly support the separation of Church and State in governance matters. It is for that reason that I see no clash with the statement of the Pope as Vatican representative--where the law is Canon Law--and our Constitutional system ... because he was stating his religious opinion. He is entitled to his obvious opinion; you are entitled to yours; and, I am entitled to mine. (I've heard, btw, that The Guardian paper has weighed in with the observation that the plane conversation was a bit more nuanced than presented brief-hand here.)

    For myself, I know that I did not expect to hear a candidate running for President in the words & beliefs of the Pope.  And, he did not pretend to tell us/require us along those lines.  His strongest pleas concerned alleviating the pain of immigrants and calling for coming to terms with destructive forces against the Earth.  

    We all have a need to hear different things.  What I heard and saw and experienced thoughout the past week was the genuinely inclusive and prayerful attitude--a love--from a human being who happens to be a leader and a Pope.


    To me, it is unmistakable, (none / 0) (#12)
    by KeysDan on Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 04:19:59 PM EST
    that Pope Francis is building a popular base with the assistance of, if not reliance upon, public relations.  It is clear to all, including Pope Benedict XVI, that the Catholic Church was in free-fall.

    Initially, the sex abuse scandal was ignored, covered up, and disparaged as being an American problem, owing to our loose morals. But, guess what? Ireland, a country historically intertwined with the Church, and then, essentially, world-wide.

    After denials and legal judgments that required some dioceses to declare bankruptcy, sell properties and, even tap into funds for perpetual care of cemeteries, the Vatican started to notice the toll being taken. Buttons in the collection plate do make a statement.

    The sex abuse scandal was not all. The Vatican Bank, was a mess--money laundering and shady deals over a long period of time. The Pope's butler spilled some beans in what was called Vatileaks. Pope Francis acknowledged "the gay lobby" that existed in the Curia, including blackmail, back-biting and the carryings-on of top Cardinals.

    Pope Benedict XVI resigned and became Pope Emeritus, residing in the Vatican in specifically remodeled quarters. If Benedict remained until the Camerlengo hit him on the head with the silver hammer, the Church may well have had no chance at return.

    The Catholic Church is nothing if not a survivor. A Pope resigns, the first time,voluntarily, in a thousand years. A new Pope comes along. That is a good start.  And, that brings us to Francis:

    What is the plan for a carefully crafted popular base? Of course, to change the subject and change course. And, how do you change course? That is difficult what with cardinals and bishops appointed by arch-conservative Popes. Francis can use his popularity to change the tone, and do so by going directly to the people, as he has done, and by working the bishops. Appointing like minded bishops whenever he can.  The Vatican is a monarchy, but as with monarchies, he still needs to garner support, and keep support, especially among the wealthier dioceses.

    My feeling is that Pope Francis can make progress in the world, if not his own Church, by his emphasis on poverty, climate change, and compassion.  In his Church, he can modernize it, by ordering priorities and de-emphasizing some contentious issues. But, Francis is a conservative church leader, he was appointed cardinal by a conservative pope and elected by conservative cardinals. But, he is a Jesuit, the first for a pope, so their is some progressive kernel to his thinking.

    My hopes are for progress in those things that help mankind, and that he keeps his theology and politics within the confines of his communicants.

     I do, for example, feel it is wrong for the Catholic Church to limit its sacrament of Holy Orders to males. Women are the backbone of the Church.  Nuns have carried a major load in good works. Yet, this pope says the door to women in the priesthood is closed. And, condescendingly, calls their presence "the strawberry on the cake."  

    But, this is an internal church issue,primarily, although it does add to misogyny. But, if Catholics, especially women, are OK with it. Well, then..  

    The ill that can come from the Pope is that which, as I mention, spills over to non-communicants. As long as his comments are ambiguous, it is realistic progress toward modernity.

     It is the direct that is a problem. The clerk Davis response seems ambiguous in that government workers' conscientious objections could be thought of in the Nuremberg context. Probably not, but that is where it is best placed.

     Pope Francis does reveal himself more directly, when he dangerously and incautiously said, in light of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, that he would punch his aide in the face if he insulted his mother. That, you can not provoke, you can not insult the faith of others.  

    It is my hope that Francis' popularity will be used to turn that old battleship around. It will not be fast, but maybe it will move, albeit slowly, on a better course.  Important new course, since it is not gong away any time soon.


    The Vatican Post Office (none / 0) (#14)
    by fishcamp on Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 05:51:34 PM EST
    is down stairs, so I sent my mother a postcard of Pope Paul.  Nearby are the gemstones of the Vatican and they are stunning.  it was 1970 when I was there.  I hear Rome is impossible now, due to crowds.

    Somehow, KeysDan (none / 0) (#15)
    by christinep on Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 06:45:34 PM EST
    I hope and think that Pope Francis is about a lot more than PR.  While, obviously, these times call for an understanding of PR as well as a commitment to use the technology techniques available, my understanding of the Catholic Church suggests that more is going on here.

    Yes, we must begin with the sins of the past ... acknowledge and make atonement for them.  Because of how this Pope Francis speaks to my heart (as well as my practical recognition of his moves, organization within the key offices of the Curia and otherwise) I choose to believe that today is different from yesterday.  And, I keep open the possibility of even more progress tomorrow.  

    Life inside and outside the Church is about tone, attitude, trying ... in my experience. Steps, rather than magic wands.  In the pews, we see the difference in  words first ... instead of the constant drumbeat of everything centered on reproduction and sex almost as if it were the center of the Church we now are exhorted to help others in need, visit the poor, add to works of mercy, etc.  This Pope is focusing on and using his authority to focus on all the community aspects that constitute the Church.  Realize that such directs clearly effects, strongly, the congregations.  Not overnight; bit by bit. But--about that reference to night--it is really like night and day now--the light, the smile of daylight.

    Everyone has their own pace.  I've had arguments with a few members of the Church who genuinely feel the change is too rapid.  (Y'know, similar to those who want to return to the past in our own country, in other countries.)  Why I'm so hopeful now is that this Pope conveys the wherewithal to move beyond the platitudes ... to move the relationship of Church and people forward (a phrase he used more than once while in our country.) When people resolve to move forward in their own relationships--to incorporate learning from the past with the desire to change--it can happen.  Whether in healing personal or larger community relationships. Or institutional progress (particularly, religious institutions.)  In that regard, think of where Germany was in the 1930s and 40s ... Japan at that time ... Stalin's Soviet Union ... Lon Nol's Cambodia.  There has been progress; there has been change.  As we all know.  

    Yes, again: Sorrow, suspicion, betrayal, anger make sense in view of what has happened in the vast organization that is the institutional Church. This Pope apologized very publicly, expressed contrition very publicly (and has even termed the actions "rape.")  We can choose to believe that genuine actions will result (there are, btw, a series of monitoring actions, etc. being put in place to prevent that travesty or anything like it in future.)  

    For now, we can only hope that the divide gradually starts to close with true healing.  One thing I do know: We need now--all of us--to ask ourselves IF any contrition is enough? Ultimately, that comes for each of us.  

    I wish you the best in your progress as well.


    My hope was to convey that (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by KeysDan on Mon Sep 28, 2015 at 08:37:31 PM EST
    there is not only damage control, but p.r. going on.  It would be difficult not to see the sheen of the Pope in his demeanor and his public eschewing of the trappings of the papacy. He stays in a basic hotel room in the Vatican, but the papal palace remains--for use another day, by another pontiff. It trickles down to the bishops: NYC archdiocese is committed to $500, 000 to rebuild and renovate St. Patrick's Cathedral, while the same diocese is closing churches and schools for lack of funds. But, this is salved by the Pope meeting with the construction workers.  

    My point is that public relations is necessary, not only for past sins, but also, for refurbishment.  And, survival.  My point, too, is not that this p.r. is  necessarily unseemly, but that it is needed for survival--for the Church and those who find great comfort and solace in its teachings, traditions and as a vehicle for a good life and joyous  hereafter.  Life can be a scary place, and religion helps many.

    The p.r. is to facilitate achievement of goals. It clearly is designed to build and re-build the base of faithful. It may also be for purposes of change. It seems to me, as with you, that the change will be difficult and slow given the institutional parameters.

     Francis has an opportunity to move to modernity--beyond a change of subject and atonement.  I believe it is his goal to do so by moving the theology to the extent possible, by softening and diluting the ossified hierarchy he inherited, and by changing the tone. But, it will move no further than he wants to take it, for he, too, is bound up in the chains of history.