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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 7/1/15

The Pope Is Coming! The Pope Is Coming!

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06.06.15-Pope Francis
06.06.15-Pope Francis
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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) July 1, 2015: The pope is coming! The pope is coming! Get ready, America. In September, Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the United States -- after he visits Cuba. The pope's itinerary for his U.S. visit has now been released.

Because of Pope Francis' critique of capitalism, Rush Limbaugh accused him of being a Marxist. It's hard for me to imagine that Rush Limbaugh will let the pope's visit to Cuba go by without commenting on it.

Late in the afternoon of Tuesday, September 22nd, Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in the Washington, DC area -- from his visit to Cuba.

On Wednesday morning, September 23rd, Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama in the White House. Late in the afternoon, Pope Francis will preside at the Mass of Canonization of the Franciscan missionary Junipero Serra, whose missionary work was in California. As a result of his missionary work in California, San Francisco is named after St. Francis of Assisi, and nearby Santa Clara is named after St. Clara of Assisi. (Santa Clara Valley is also known popularly as Silicon Valley.)

On Thursday morning, September 24th, Pope Francis will address a joint session of the United States Congress. Late in the afternoon, he will fly to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City -- the airport named after the only Roman Catholic president the United States has ever had.

On Friday morning, September 25th, Pope Francis will address the United Nations General Assembly. In the evening, Pope Francis will preside at Mass at Madison Square Garden. A considerable number of practicing Catholics live in the five boroughs of New York City, so the pope's Mass at Madison Square Garden will most likely draw a lot of practicing Catholics.

On Saturday morning, September 26th, Pope Francis will fly to Philadelphia and visit the World Meeting of Families. Late in the afternoon, he will preside at Mass at the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families. Finally that evening, he will fly back to Rome.

No doubt the news media will cover the pope's visit and report his views, at least briefly in news stories.

No doubt editorial writers and columnists at the New York Times and op-ed commentators at and elsewhere and Rush Limbaugh and other radio commentators will comment on the pope's views.

No doubt Pope Francis' speech-writers have already started to work writing the various speeches Pope Francis will give to different audiences during his visit to the United States.

By all accounts, Pope Francis is doctrinally conservative. As a result, he is not likely to initiate any significant changes in the current-traditional teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Nevertheless, he is a shrewd salesman pedaling his old-time religion.

But Pope Francis is not setting a good example for political and organizational leaders to follow by setting his own house in order. For example, he has not decisively changed his church's canon law to safeguard against further cover ups of priest sex abuse, even though as pope he can change canon law single-handedly.

Basically, Pope Francis' message to the leaders of the world can be summed up as "Do as I say, not as I do."

No doubt Pope Francis thinks he's being prophetic in his eco-encyclical and critique of capitalism.

But two of the four gospels portray the character named Jesus as urging people, including would-be prophets like Pope Francis, to take the log out of their own eye before they undertake to remove the splinter from their brother's eye (Mt. 7:3; Lk. 6:42).

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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