The buzz over Pope Francis’s encyclical has grown to sound more like the roar of a river during spring snow melt. Rick Santorum, a Catholic, will melt down faster than the glaciers in the Himalayas, and John Boehner, with his requisite tears will cry the battle songs of capitalism. Let’s face it. This Pope took the name, Francis of Assisi; that nature loving, animal protecting friar that called all animals his brothers and sisters, for a reason. For Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and ecology, he believed that nature was the mirror of God. This pope could not have come at a time when this planet needs him more. Whether you are Catholic or not, you can believe that the pope influences the world. World leaders know this and world leaders are concerned that this pope will expose their debauchery of the planet’s gifts; those gifts that have fueled capitalism and exploitation of poor people and indigenous people ever since colonization began.
My disdain for the religious and the rampant hypocrisy and greed that we witness daily has grown equally with my age. But for a couple, I’ve come to loath religious leaders that intentionally allow the shibboleths of greed, hypocrisy, and false piousness to fall from their tongues while the sword they carry is ready to behead those most in need; the poor, the voiceless people victims of capitalism; and voiceless animals that are slaughtered for fun and entertainment. I’ve watched as growth of megachurches have filled the thousands of seats with people there to hear the message of the richest liars in the churches; Oral Roberts, Joal Olsteen, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and countless more that are living in castles and driving the Rolls Royces while the flock that empowered them to be millionaires struggles to stretch the last dollar between paychecks. My heretic mind is dizzy from the millions of dollars and message of hate they spew. I fail to grasp why people clamor to hear their message of damnation and hell, and judgement of non-believers and worship of money.
I have spit on Christianity for many reasons, but the hypocrisy and message of hatred, and love of money at the expense of the poor and the earth’s gifts was front and center. As my distaste for the religiouscrats grew, enter Pope Francis. Pope Francis, who chastises capitalism for the harm it has done to the world’s poorest; for the harm it’s done to this earth due to the pillage of her bounties has softened my views on Christianity. What comes to my mind is the bible story of Jesus when he cleared the church of the money changers, the Pharisees. Jesus’s seven woes of the Pharisees:
- They taught about God but did not love God — they did not enter the kingdom of heaven themselves, nor did they let others enter. (Matt 23:13-14)
- They preached God but converted people to dead religion, thus making those converts twice as much sons of hell as they themselves were. (Matt 23:15)
- They taught that an oath sworn by the temple or altar was not binding, but that if sworn by the gold ornamentation of the temple, or by a sacrificial gift on the altar, it was The gold and gifts, however, were not sacred in themselves as the temple and altar were, but derived a measure of lesser sacredness by being connected to the temple or altar. The teachers and Pharisees worshiped at the temple and offered sacrifices at the altar because they knew that the temple and altar were sacred. How then could they deny oath-binding value to what was truly sacred and accord it to objects of trivial and derived sacredness? (Matt 23:16-22)
- They taught the law but did not practice some of the most important parts of the law — justice, mercy, faithfulness to God. They obeyed the minutiae of the law such as tithing spices but not the weightier matters of the law. (Matt 23:23-24)
- They presented an appearance of being ‘clean’ (self-restrained, not involved in carnal matters), yet they were dirty inside: they seethed with hidden worldly desires, carnality. They were full of greed and self-indulgence. (Matt 23:25-26)
- They exhibited themselves as righteous on account of being scrupulous keepers of the law, but were in fact not righteous: their mask of righteousness hid a secret inner world of ungodly thoughts and feelings. They were full of wickedness. They were like whitewashed tombs, beautiful on the outside, but full of dead men’s bones. (Matt 23:27-28)
- They professed a high regard for the dead prophets of old, and claimed that they would never have persecuted and murdered prophets, when in fact they were cut from the same cloth as the persecutors and murderers: they too had murderous blood in their veins. (Matt 23:29-36)
I do believe the modern day Pharisees who profess to be messengers of God, are scared of this pope. This pope may very well clear the churches of the money changers. The encyclical on climate change is officially released this coming Thursday, June 18, 2015. It’s already been leaked to the press, but I will wait to read it when it is officially released. No, I’ll never again claim Christianity as my belief, but I have finally found a religious leader that I can respect. It matters not whether I believe God is Jesus or whether I believe all things possess energy; the energy of the spirit and the soul. That is God. We all possess that spirit and soul. The spirit and soul of Earth has been raped, pillaged and robbed for centuries. We kill wildlife for ‘family fun’ and entertainment then go park our ass on a church pew to beat up on gays and unmarried mothers. Anyone who has ever peered into the eyes of the injured knows all animals possess a spirit and soul; anyone that has ever waded through a stream polluted and screaming with the stench of hydrocarbons knows that we can no longer sustain the capitalistic pursuits of colonialism.
This planet and this planet’s wildlife, and the people that are the poorest of the poor, and the regular joes doing their daily grind, blinded by reality TV and Facebook will read a message lacking the hypocrisy of the ‘pious’ politicians. These people, oblivious to the coming droughts, floods, wildfires and wars that will be brought on by climate change will react. They will profess, “Oh Lord, do you not see my beautiful mansion? The ornate is for you. Did I not fly on my own jet to speak your message?” The politicians are already preparing their rebuttals. However, the climate change fueled by colonialism and capitalism will be dealt a blow; just as Jesus dealt a blow when he threw out the Pharisee money changers. Pope Francis of Assisi could not have entered the world’s stage at a more desperate time.