So, no shouting “You lie” from the seats.
In one of the starkest reminders of just how casual and quite frankly conspicuous American culture has become, the State Department issued “guidelines” for lawmakers to follow while His Holiness, Pope Francis, is in the House chamber for his address:
- No hugs, just handshakes and then only if instigated by His Holiness
- No selfies
- No bare shoulders, knees, or elbows
- Dark, conservative colors (umm, doesn’t have to be black).
One would think, at least those of us who were raised by Catholic mothers and grandmothers who understood the guidelines of modesty, that the one about no bare joints should be a no-brainer, but it seems that even Speaker of the House John Boehner can’t get the ladies to behave when it comes to this, having admonished them multiple times in the past. Seriously, gals, visualize sleeves. Even if you do not follow the traditional guidelines for modesty, remember that even Coco Chanel always covered women to below the knee and elbow.
If no one else in Washington is taking Pope Francis’ place in the world seriously, the State Department is. One does not have to respect his opinions to respect the office. The office of Bishop of Rome has existed for almost 2,000 years and will exist long after Francis’ time on the papal throne is over. (Just to be honest, we’ve had worse.) Being a veteran of a handful of papal events, although with Francis’ predecessors and in liturgical settings, being in the presence of a pope is rather awe-inspiring and should be a matter for one’s best behavior.
However, the people who currently make up the House of Representatives don’t always display the most polite decorum.
The guidance comes amid fears that the first-ever papal address to Congress could spark a State of the Union-like atmosphere given the pontiff’s politics, where one-half of the chamber stands to cheer on the pope while the other sits on their hands, grim-faced.
Francis is famous for making political audiences uncomfortable, and his calls for global leaders to reduce inequality and to act on climate change might sound like an address by President Obama to some Republican lawmakers.
At the same time, the pope’s opposition to abortion rights could make some Democrats uncomfortable and lead to GOP cheers, especially given the charged debate over federal funding for Planned Parenthood that’s threatening to trigger a government shutdown at the end of the month.
This quote comes from The Hill, and the congresscritters they talked to have no intentions of “going there” from a political perspective. The problem here is that Americans politicize EVERYTHING, and matters of morals, really, are the specialty of prelates…which is why abortion may well come up as controversial when it should be a black and white matter of right vs. wrong.
The Hill gives a litany of instances when members of both parties acted less than dignified in protest of a guest leader’s presence. No need to rehash it. But still, given the number of matters where Francis needs better advisors, he’s walking into a potential viper pit, and the State Department is looking to head any gaffes, faux pas, and plain old ignorance off at the pass.
As for the muslim invasion…um, His Holiness would do well to look up the Borgia popes and understand just why they were elected in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. We’ve done this before, and “holding back the Turks” was one of the issues that drove the protestant revolt. And when it comes to the UN, yeah, just like His Holiness, they have no divisions. They depend on, well, us, for financing and quite a bit of enforcement of the one-world government idea that violates the very encyclicals against modernism that rocked the socialist world a hundred years ago. Perhaps a refresher on Pope Leo XIII and Pope Saint Pius X is in order???? Collective living works in a religious order, but not in the rest of the world, ideal or not. They understood that.