Dear Pope Francis,
First of all, I was very disappointed that I didn’t hear back from you after my last letter to you.
I really thought you’d stop by, call, or at least send me a text message.
Sometimes, man, I feel like I don’t even know who you are anymore!
In all seriousness, I understand through our media that you are explicitly rejecting any politically-motivated intentions. Per the reports I’m reading and hearing, you claim that what you are saying is not about politics but simply about Church Doctrine.
Respectfully, given your enormous platform and influence — I implore you to take a few steps back from this entire conversation before engaging it further. As expressed in my initial letter to you — again, respectfully — what apparently escapes you, and so many others, is that in The United States of America our Founders enshrined God’s gift of “Free Will” as a foremost principle due each citizen. Only here we call it “Liberty” and it’s limited only by that which might infringe on other citizens’ equally afforded rights.
My point, Francis…if I may call you Francis, and I may because we are both equally God’s children and brothers in Christ…is that in conflating Church Doctrine with the actions of government you are effectively asserting this…
“Just take everyone in the world in and let Caesar confiscate your money so he can determine how best to redistribute it. And P.S. Hand over control of all energy supply and delivery to Caesar, too. But I mean, c’mon…I’m not being political!”
You just can’t say that. Or rather, you can’t say it and remain credible among those who are actually both paying attention and doing so thoughtfully.
Explicitly separate the free will-mitigating, compulsory hand of government from your directives when seeking to inspire charity and good works. Failing to do so not only promotes the antithesis of that which God gave all of His children with which to grow and love (ie, free will), but it negates entirely the very merits of both morality and charity.
Unless, that is, you truly think Jesus’ great hope for the world was not that we as individuals extend our hearts and hands voluntarily to our neighbors — but that a highly corruptible government instead take from us in order to line it’s own pockets before sharing any scraps left over with those poor, all in God’s name.
Daniel Hank Rand