Yes, let's give thanks to Pope Francis for trumping Chuanpu,* at least for a while, in the 24/7 news cycle
*Chuanpu = Trump, "as he is known in Mandarin," according to The New Yorker's Evan Osnos in a Sept. 28 "Comment" piece, "Dinner Talk," on the state visit of People's Republic of China President Xi Jinping
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"If you read the speech in its entirety -- as I did after watching it being delivered -- you will find something more coherent and substantial: a polite but firm request for the United States to stand up for, and live by, some of the things it claims to represent and, at times, has actually represented."
-- John Cassidy, in a newyorker.com post a few hours
ago, "Pope Francis's Timely Message to Congress"
ago, "Pope Francis's Timely Message to Congress"
Even a few days of low-trumpery would be a blessing. When last heard from, The Donald was screeching his stinking guts out like a diseased, wounded hyena over -- among other things -- the "foul language" uesed by National Review editor and Fox Noisemaker telling fellow Noisemaker Megyn Kelly that Carly Fiorina had cut The Donald's balls off. The Donald is demanding that the FCC fine Fox Noise -- which he is of course famously boycotting in the latest phase of his feud with the Noisybunch.
Now if I say that The Donald is a giant stinking pile of shit, I know that that's foul language. I might risk it anyway since calling him a giant stinking pile of doody or feces doesn't give the full measure of his turditude. However, I'm not sure where the "foul language" is in saying that someone's had his balls cut off, especially when you consider the volume of filth that has come out of The Donald's campaign since he announced it.
(If the objection is that Rich Lowry is a moron, and that saying Carly had cut The Donald's balls off was moronic, I'd say that's two for two. But once we go down that lane, most of what comes out of The Donald's maw is moronic too, and most of the gibberish spewed on Fox Noise by the legion of Noisemaking morons. Fortunately, though, from a First Amendment-wise standpoint, the FCC has no jurisdiction over morons or moronitude.
But to return to The Donald's cut-off balls, is the idea here that "balls" is foul language? Really? So, like, baseball announcers now have to give hitting counts as, say, "three uh-uhs and two strikes," or else The Donald will demand that the FCC fine them?
Oh, you're saying that if "balls" refers to the male sex organs it's foul language? So it would be okay if Rich had told Megyn that Carly cut The Donald's testicles off?
WELL, THE POPE IS HERE IN THE BIG APPLE NOW
And we New Yorkers are keeping track of his itinerary by monitoring the zillions of street closings and bus reroutings (or is it vice versa?). I know he's got a tight schedule, so there doesn't seem much point in my suggesting some spots for him to hit. (At least those spots won't become temporarily inaccessible to the rest of us.)
There's a lot of good will toward the pope here, as witness this photo taken by a reader of the Brooklyn blog Brownstoner on Brooklyn's Court Street on Tuesday afternoon, the day of the start of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the most holy day in the Jewish calendar -- when the traditional greeting is "Good yom tov" (or "yontif"), "yom tov" meaning literally "good day," or holiday.
Brownstoner asks: "Is it kosher? Or should
Peter Shelsky atone for this joke?"
Peter Shelsky atone for this joke?"
AS FOR THE POPE'S ADVENTURES IN WASHINGTON --
Here's the start of John Cassidy's newyorker.com post, "Pope Francis's Timely Message to Congress":
If you watched Pope Francis’s historic address to a joint session of Congress on Thursday, and judged it by the standards of contemporary politics and discourse, it perhaps seemed a bit disappointing. The Pope spoke slowly and in a thick accent. He ranged widely, making it tricky to discern a common thread. Some of his language was elliptical; some of his rebukes were implied. Soundbites and applause lines were few and far between.
But if you read the speech in its entirety—as I did after watching it being delivered—you will find something more coherent and substantial: a polite but firm request for the United States to stand up for, and live by, some of the things it claims to represent and, at times, has actually represented. Speaking in a legislature dominated by a party that is increasingly held hostage to the doctrines and interests of individualism and free enterprise, the visitor from the Holy See delivered a timely defense of communal values and solidarity with the poor and dispossessed. While he was at pains not to appear partisan or to give offense to his hosts, there was a reason why some Republicans were nervous about what the Pope might say. Between the follower of Saint Francis of Assisi and the leadership of the G.O.P. lies a gulf that no politesse can disguise.
To the delight of the assembled, the Pope began by saying that he was grateful for the opportunity to speak “in the land of the free and the home of the brave.” But he quickly made clear that his concept of liberty and freedom doesn’t jibe with the one promoted by the Republican Study Committee or the Club for Growth. Citing Abraham Lincoln’s call for “a new birth of freedom,” he said, “Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and coöperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.” The “common good” isn’t a concept that gets discussed often in Washington these days, but Pope Francis invoked it several times. And in reminding the senators and representatives sitting before him of their obligation to pursue this goal, he said that they had a particular obligation to protect “those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk.”
It was perhaps predictable that Francis would bring up Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., two Americans who have achieved secular canonization, and to whom politicians across the political spectrum pay lip service. But the other two Americans he cited as inspirations were both figures of the left: Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, and Thomas Merton, a Catholic theologian and mystic, whose enthusiastic support for the civil-rights movement and participation in protests against the Vietnam War attracted criticism from some conservative clergy. . . .
THERE'S A PROBLEM, THOUGH -- THE SEX-ABUSE VICTIMS
When I saw the link to this piece, my first response was, oh, some people always have to find a dark side. Then I started reading, and it wasn't hard to see why there are people who are upset. Note that in the set of remarks referenced here, Pope Francis was speaking not to Congress as the head of the Catholic Church but to his middle-management team as chief executive of the company -- and getting applause for a line he's going to hear a lot more about.
Here's the start of the piece:
Why advocates for clergy sex abuse victims call Pope Francis’s remarks a ‘slap in the face’
By Abby Ohlheiser, Michelle Boorstein and Terrence McCoy | September 23 at 9:15 PM
In a midday prayer at Saint Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, Pope Francis said that sex crimes must "never repeat themselves." [Watch video at the link.]
Speculation began almost as soon as Pope Francis’s first visit to the United States was announced months ago.
Would the popular pontiff – who has spoken boldly on so many controversial topics – address the clergy sexual abuse scandals that have caused many American Catholics to fall away from the church and detracted from his optimistic message of renewal? Would he take time to meet with survivors?
In his address to U.S. bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, he at least partially answered that question.
Francis lauded the bishops for their “courage” in the face of what he called “self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice.”
“I realize how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you and I have supported your generous commitment to bring healing to victims – in the knowledge that in healing we, too, are healed – and to work to ensure that such crimes will never be repeated,” Francis said.
But it wasn’t the answer that many victims’ advocates had hoped to hear. They criticized Francis for offering comfort and
sympathy to the bishops and praising their bravery while saying little to address the suffering of clergy sex abuse survivors.
“To characterize the response of American Bishops to clergy abuse victims as ‘generous’ and ‘courageous’ is bizarre,” said John Salveson, president of the Philadelphia-based Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse and a survivor of clergy sex abuse.
“In reality, the American church hierarchy has treated clergy sex abuse victims as adversaries and enemies for decades,” he said. “His concern about how the abuse crisis has weighed on the bishops’ spirits, and his hope that all of their good deeds will help them heal from the crisis, reflects a profound misunderstanding of the role the church has played in this self-inflicted crisis.”
Barbara Dorris, victims outreach director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, called Francis’s remarks “a slap in the face to all the victims, that we’re going to worry about how the poor bishop feels.”
“You’re the ones who created it, and now we’re going to feel sorry for what you created?” Dorris said.
It is not yet clear whether Francis will address the scandal again, or meet with survivors during his visit, which will also include stops in New York City and Philadelphia, where he will address a global meeting on family issues in a city that has been rocked over the last decade by abuse allegations.
Several top U.S. church officials said that the pope would meet with survivors, but have been reluctant to give specifics.
A Vatican spokesman declined comment on the pope’s remarks at the cathedral, which were met with lengthy applause by the bishops. . . .
FINALLY, LOOKING AHEAD TO THE END OF THE PAPAL
VISIT: "POPE FRANCIS AFTER ONE WEEK IN THE USA"
Daily Kos Comics' Lalo Alcaraz writes:
Pope Francis is the "Pope of the People" and arrived this week to his first ever visit to the USA. I hope he had a good time, and I'm sure he adapted well to American culture. This is how I see El Papa after five long days in our fabulous country.
NOTE: HOWIE WILL HAVE LOTS MORE TO
SAY ABOUT THE POPE'S SPEECH TODAY --
with extended excerpts and a team of guest commenters, in his post at 9pm PT/12am ET.