19 April 2016

Bernie at the Vatican: an Imagined Encounter

16 APRIL 2016. Today, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who is currently running for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency of the United States, had an exchange with Pope Francis at the Santa Martha, where Our Holy Father resides at the Vatican. What follows is what I imagine to have been their encounter. And we pray!

BERNIE: Your Holiness! I just want you to know that I am a big supporter of the Church's social teaching and all that you have personally taught on the proper role of the economy. Your words and teaching are beautiful.

FRANCIS: Thank you Senator Sanders. It is a pleasure to meet you and your family. And, I do appreciate your kind words.

BERNIE: Thank you, the pleasure is ours.

FRANCIS: But, while I agree with you that the economy cannot make men and women its slave . . .

BERNIE: I could not say it better Holy Father.

FRANCIS: No more so can we treat the most vulnerable among us without compassion, care, or concern. Indeed, concern for their very being.

BERNIE: [Smiles and nods affirmatively.]

FRANCIS: Our God's love for us, He who created us--as the ancient scriptures tell us--extends to all life which is precious exactly because it was created by God. In protecting people from being economically used, and offending the dignity of the person by treating people as assets in the economic machine, we cannot lose sight of another, more pressing obligation. That is to protect people and the dignity and sanctity of human life from being eliminated because it is inconvenient--for the elderly, because it is expensive--for the infirm, because of a misplaced sense of revenge, which is socially pressed upon the people as justice--for prisoners, or because it is hidden in the womb--for the unborn. Even more important to Catholic social teaching than speaking out against the deification of money and profit, is speaking out against the pernicious and systematic devaluation and disregard for human life. Please remember this.

BERNIE: Thank you for your beautiful words. [smiles hesitantly]

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