Pope in the House

Can you believe it? A Pope in the US Congress, preaching to our senators and representatives.

I can only imagine what’s going through some politicians’ heads. The Pope is up there, flanked by two Catholics, House Speaker John Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden. He’s telling all 535 of them about the Golden Rule. And as the pontiff is intoning “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” some of them are thinking:

“Damn straight. My opponent takes out attack ads; I’ll take out attack ads. He gets a superPAC; I’ll get a superPAC. You better believe I’ll do unto others what they do to me!”

Now I’m not implying most of our nation’s leaders are thinking like that. I’m sure some of their souls are touched deeply by the presence of a holy man in his long white ro deeply bes standing before them in their chamber. No doubt many of them were relieved to have such gentleness, sanity and authenticity be given such a magnificent, solemn opportunity to address a Joint Session of Congress.

But what happens on the House floor the next day? Does the lion and the lamb lie down together? Do the two party leaders go out to lunch and say a prayer before they dive into their T-bone steaks?

And since the candidates were also listening to Pope Francis, what happens on the campaign trail? Does toxic trash talk suddenly turn to kindness and compliments around the campfire? Do Hillary Clinton’s critiques say: “Oh, never mind about Benghazi — we know it’s not your fault!” or “Thanks for all your years flying around the world on our behalf— let’s just forget about those missing emails!”

I don’t think so.

Just as there will always be light, there will always be shadow. The sacred and the profane are forever paired. But that does not mean that the Pope’s words do not matter

“If we want security, let us give security,” he said with beautiful simplicity. “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.”

He has my vote. How about yours?