Although I have largely ignored commenting about the visit to the US of Pope Benedict XVI, largely because he has does little to inpress me, his recent comments and discussions with Bush regarding the treatment of immigrants in the US is worthy of comment. Benedict was probably the most conservative of the candidated for the See of Rome. Given his age at election, it is safe to assume he was charged with being a caretaker, keeping in place the conservative positions of his predecessor.
So, for him to speak out with anything approaching moral outrage on any controversial social issue, is noteworthy. I am sure the Pope’s remarks to President Bush were are diplomatic (read wishy-washy) as his comments about the pedophilia scandals among American Catholic priests. But some of the choreography, as a recent New York Times article refers to it, involved in his public comments send a much more pointed message, especially the fact that he delivered a portion of his comments in Spanish, a clear indication that he was talking to and about the largely Hispanic illegal immigrants in the US.
One side note of some interest is the fact that Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo of Coloeado, a former Catholic who is now a Protestant evangelical. Tancredo criticized the Pope for indlging in “faith-based marketing.” Well, that’s a very good descriptuin if what the evangelical Republicans like Tancredo indulge in all the time. To criticize someone of doing exactly what you do is the height of hypocrisy in my book. But that is no surprise when it comes to these fundamentalists. They indulge in more hypocrisy than a New Testament pharisee. Truly a nest of vipers.
Also, the article refers to raids on chicken plants that yielded the arrests of 300 Latinos, allegedly illegal immigrants. I wonder if those raids were in northwest Arkansas, the home of many chicken farms and chicken processing plants and a very large Hispanic community. The article did not mention where the raids were and I could not find any news reference to them.
Anyway, the choreography of th public comments on immigration sent a much more powerful message than the Pope’s extremely diplomatic words. But then a picture was always worth a thousands words.