June 19, 2015

Thomas Cahill on the People's Pope

An excerpt from, "Pope Francis Uses Encyclical To Deliver Moral Message On Climate Change" NPR, June 18, 2015:

The words from Pope Francis today are urgent and direct. He released his much-anticipated encyclical on the environment and climate change. Francis says our common home is sick, burdened and laid waste, and he's calling for an active response to a global crisis. The pope is directing this encyclical not just to Catholics, but as he puts it, to every person living on this planet. To talk more about Pope Francis's message, we called on John Carr. He directs Georgetown University's Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life.

JOHN CARR: He sees this as a matter of great importance and thinks it is fundamentally a matter of the common good. And the common good, by definition, belongs to all of it. We either contribute to it or we undermine it.

BLOCK: Pope Francis mentioned several times throughout this encyclical the term integral ecology. What does that mean exactly? What's he getting at there?

CARR: In many ways, while it's 180 pages long - at least my version - the most important word is only three letters long, and is and. And what Pope Francis does more than anything else is connect things which have been separated. Concern for the planet, it's concern for the poorest people on the planet. Concern for social justice - concern for the environment.
Video Title: Thomas Cahill on the People's Pope. Source: Moyers & Company. Date Published: January 3, 2014. Description: 
In just a few months, Pope Francis has proven to be one of the most outspoken pontiffs in recent history, especially when it comes to poverty and income inequality. In a message to be sent to world leaders marking the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Peace on January 1, he criticized the "widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs."

Francis is the first Jesuit to ascend to the papacy, so this week Bill turns to Jesuit-educated author and historian Thomas Cahill to get his perspective on the meaning of Pope Francis and the relevance of the Church in the 21st century. "[Pope Francis] is talking about the poor, as Jesus did. He's talking about the absolute necessity for us to take care of the poor, to do something for them."

Cahill has written a series of best-selling books about critical moments in Western civilization; his latest is Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World.