Once again Sarah Palin has shown her propensity for sticking her foot in her mouth and then blaming the media for misrepresenting her statements.
In an interview, Palin told CNN’s Jake Tapper the she was “taken aback” by some of Pope Francis’ statements that, to her, seemed too liberal. Later on in a Facebook post, the former Alaska Governor made an apology of sorts, but it came off as a not-so-subtle attempt to shift blame to the media for the misunderstanding: “I apologize for not being clear in my response,” she said; then added, “thus opening the door to critical media that does what it does best in ginning up controversy.”
This is an amazing statement coming from someone who thrives off of media attention. It is akin to an author lamenting the publicity his new book has generated by blaming his publishers.
But, the charges Palin leveled against the Pope – the head of the Christian Church – are no small matter. In fact, I think her criticisms should be examined more closely to see if they have merit – is the Pope pursuing a liberal agenda, or is he doing what any right-minded, religious leader would do in an attempt to heal a world suffering from spiritual bankruptcy? Well, who better to answer this question than the father of Christianity himself? So, I thought it’d be a good idea to juxtapose some of the Pope’s actions and statements with what Jesus said.
“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5).
One of Pope Francis’s first official acts after ascending to the Papacy was to rid the Vatican of a culture of corruption that had existed there for decades. For example, just days after new scandals rocked the ultra secret Vatican Bank, the Pope sought to have its top officials removed from their post, subsequently calling for more transparency in the financial institution in the future.
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11).
Not only has Pope Francis proven himself to be a humble man, but the level of humility displayed by the Pontiff must be shocking to some, especially for a group as steeped in traditional pomp and pageantry as the Vatican hierarchy. In fact, it is not unusual for Pope Francis to be seen carrying his own luggage, like when he took a trip to Brazil back in July. At his inaugural mass, Pope Francis created another stir when he shunned the traditional red slippers that the Pontiff usually wears on such occasions for a pair of plain old black loafers. But the height of rebellion came when Pope Francis refused to use the Pope mobile for his excursions, opting instead for the relatively cramped quarters of a Ford Focus.
On the Poor
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).
Pope Francis set the tone of the direction of his Papacy when he chose the name of the patron saint of the poor as his title; going so far as to refuse the lavish accommodations of the Papal Palace saying, “Three hundred people could live here,” choosing a supple two-room apartment located in a nearby hotel instead. He went on to say that the current financial crisis gripping world markets only serves to highlight the growing disparity between the rich and the poor.
Well, I could be wrong but it appears that the Pope’s message of tolerance, inclusion and compassion is more in line with what Jesus imparted to his disciples two-thousand years ago than the conservative Christian ideology preached by Palin.