by Geraldo Rivera | Sep 22, 2015
“He’s our pope too,” said New York's Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan this morning quoting some of his “Jewish rabbi friends.” Isn’t that why the first visit of Pope Francis to the United States is generating such electric excitement? More than being the leader of the planet’s billion plus Catholics, he is a pope for our troubled world, as concerned about immigration, climate change and income inequality as he is about abortion, divorce and gay marriage.
He is less judgmental, more open minded and kinder than we are used to seeing in the prince of the church. He is humble, a washer of the feet of the poor, and he rejects much of the opulence that usually accompanies his high office.
Arriving today in the United States from his visit to Castro’s Cuba, Pope Francis is weathering a storm of conservative criticism and bringing his welcoming message to an American church shattered by scandal and shaken by changing demographics.
Increasingly, his vast church ministers to congregants who are more likely to be Latino and to have crossed our southern border without documentation than he is to serve the traditional European stalwarts from Italy or Poland who previously filled the pews of the Roman church in the United States.
To me, he is a breath of fresh air, open minded and kind. I find comfort in the fact that he angers and frustrates the ideological right. The pundits are worried about Pope Francis’ admonitions that capitalism can be cruel and must also serve the poor.
To me that is a tremendous ideal that I applaud. I welcome him and pray he stays safe as he mingles with the tens of thousands who find in him a new reason to love the teachings of his church and feel comforted by his prayers, his message of compassion and inclusion. He is not running for office. He is fearlessly opening his arms to those who need less judgment and more compassion.
Bienvenido Papa, welcome to America.