John Boehner (R-OH-07) tweeted his Birthday song to congratulate Pope Francis on his birthday.
— John Boehner (@johnboehner) December 17, 2013
Pope Francis, who turned 77-years-old on Tuesday, celebrated with four homeless people who live on the street in the Rome neighborhood just outside the Vatican’s walls.
Nah … Pope Francis does not seem to be too interested in Birthday songs considering the 84-page apostolic exhortation that was released in November. In it, Pope Francis attacked the “idolatry of money” and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and healthcare.” He also called on rich people to share their wealth. “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.”
“How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”
Such talk about “human dignity” is the basis for a resolution co-sponsored by Representative Boehner (October 28, 2003) for another Pope :
To urge the President, on behalf of the United States, to present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, in recognition of his significant, enduring, and historic contributions to the causes of freedom, human dignity, and peace and to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of His Holiness’ inauguration of his ministry as Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pastor of the Catholic Church.
Is there any difference in the message offered by Pope John Paul II and Pope Francis ?
Today, Speaker Boehner is in a position to do more than just offer a resolution … and he is being asked … for example by the Phoenix-based Neighborhood Ministries. 44 members rode for 43 hours in a bus from Phoenix, hoping to appeal to House Speaker John Boehner on immigration reform, but when they arrived at his office in Washington they were turned away.
“We are coming with a lot of hope, with a lot of faith, we want him (Boehner) to know these families can’t wait any longer,” Reyna Montoya said. “We believe he as a man of God, as a Catholic, he can do the right thing for the nation.” The Arizona group had hoped to urge Boehner to allow a vote on any of the bills that included a pathway to citizenship. But they were greeted at his office by an aide who offered to deliver their concerns, but who said the speaker’s schedule was full for the day and the office too small to accommodate the group.
So the group prayed for about 20 minutes for Boehner to protect their families from deportation, before starting to sing and sway in the hallway. U.S. Capitol Police told them to keep it down and to stand along the side of the hallway, then watched as the group did just that. That did not deter members of the group like Montoya, who graduated last year from Arizona State University and said her father is now in deportation proceedings.
“I am a woman of faith,” she said. “We will be here every day.”
It isn’t just immigration reform that Speaker Boehner causes concern but also his support for cutting SNAP (food stamps) and LIHEAP (low income heating assistance), reductions in Head Start, and failing to allow a vote for an increase in the minimum wage.
Considering Pope Francis and the Neighborhood Ministries, let’s close with a Luke 16:19-31
New International Version (NIV)
The Rich Man and Lazarus
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”