Paus Franciscus sprak eergisteren het Amerikaanse Congres toe. Het werd een speech van ongeveer 50 minuten, die bijna alleen maar inspirerende opmerkingen bevatte. Het is te hopen dat de visie van de Paus wereldwijd mensen en politici aanzet tot denken en handelen. Hij zet een agenda neer waar de wereld de komende jaren mee vooruit kan. Zijn belangrijkste boodschap: Maak een einde aan haat, hebzucht, armoede, vervuiling en wapenhandel.

Foto Paus Franciscus
Deze foto maakte ik toen ik in mei 2014 de Heilige Mis van Paus Franciscus bijwoonde op het St Pietersplein in Rome.

Ja, er is het een en ander af te dingen op de katholieke kerk, zeker waar het gaat om de seksuele moraal. De kerk zet wat dat betreft bescheiden stappen in de goede richting, maar het is nog lang niet genoeg. Dat is een zwaarwegend probleem, maar niet zo zwaarwegend dat je er de hele katholieke kerk, laat staan deze Paus voor zou moeten afwijzen. Daarvoor is zijn toespraak deze week in het Amerikaanse Congres veel te waardevol. Het was overigens de eerste keer dat het Congres werd toegesproken door een Paus.

Bij de Paus gaat het niet alleen om de inhoud van zijn thema’s, maar ook om de praktische aanpak. Het bestrijden van armoede lijkt op het eerste gezicht iets waar iedereen wel voor is, maar wat de Paus telkens weer benadrukt is dat dit onderwerp de hoogste prioriteit zou moeten krijgen op de politieke agenda. Dat is nu zelden de praktijk. Daarom is het zo goed dat deze boodschap telkens weer zo krachtig wordt neerzet, door een man die toegang heeft tot de belangrijkste podia van de wereld.

Dit vind ik de beste uitspraken uit die speech in het Congres:

Over de taak van politici:

”You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics.
Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.”

Over religieus fundamentalisme:

”Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms.”

Over samenwerking met hernieuwd elan:

”We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.
The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation.
If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance.”

Over de vluchtelingencrisis:

”We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best.
We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12).

If we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.”

Over de doodstraf:

”The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.
This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.”
(De zin over ”human life at every stage of its development” kan ook uitgelegd worden als een pleidooi tegen abortus. Daar ben ik het niet met hem eens.-WvZ)

Over de strijd tegen armoede:

”At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes.”

Over milieuvervuiling:

”The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable.” (Mooi citaat om aan de muur te hangen in de directiekamer van Volkskwagen.-WvZ)

”Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good” (Laudato Si’, 129). This common good also includes the earth, a central theme of the encyclical which I recently wrote in order to “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home” (ibid., 3). We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” (ibid., 14).”

Over wapenhandel:

„Being at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”

Lees de hele speech van Paus Franciscus op de website van CNN:

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