Sunday, October 4, 2015

US, Cuba visit: Pope Francis brings fresh winds

Pope Francis brings fresh winds
Reporters Name | CAMIL PARKHE | Thursday, 1 October 2015 AT 09:18 PM IST
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Many world leaders including India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Washington recently. Pope Francis was one of these leaders to whom US President Barack Obama played host and whose itinerary was well covered by the world media. The spiritual leader of over 1.2 billion Catholics in the world was also the first pontiff to address a joint meeting of US Congress. The pope utilised this tour to advocate for environment conservation, an issue on which he had recently issued a papal encyclical.

The visit of the pope to the USA was preceded by a tour of Communist Cuba. Both these tours were significant in several ways. First of all, the Argentina-born has been the first person outside Europe to be elected to the papacy, the first from the American continents and the first non-European pope after 1,300 years. He also described himself as a son of immigrants.

Pope John Paul II had played an important role in the silent political revolution in his native Poland nation. Pope Francis too has been instrumental in thawing the five decade-old bitter relations between the sworn enemies of Cuba and the USA. Pope Francis has consistently encouraged both Obama and Cuba’s Raul Castro to hold talks. That is why in his address, President Obama said, “Holy Father, we are grateful for your invaluable support of our new beginning with the Cuban people, which holds out the promise of better relations between our countries.”

There were speculations that the pope would also utilise this tour to shake hands with or exchange greetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping as both of them were on the USA tour almost in the same period. But this did not happen. The Holy See has been working hard to establish formal ties with China although the latter has not relaxed its curbs on churches or other religious institutions.

That was the reason the pontiff in an attempt not to antagonise the dragon power had avoided meeting the Dalai Lama when he was in Rome recently. In his media interview while returning Rome, the pope has expressed the confidence of having improved relations with China.

“We are moving forward. But for me, to have as a friend a great country like China, would be a joy,” he has said.

After taking over from his ailing predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis has indeed brought fresh winds in the Catholic Church. Like John Paul III, he has also been often on a tour of various nations, winning appreciation even from the non-Catholics as well as non-believers for his stance on various issues including human rights and environment.

He has emerged as a moral power to guide the nations on various humanitarian and social issues.
James Selvaraj - Sunday, 4 October 2015 AT 10:04 PM IST
The pope speaks from his heart ! His concerns are genuine.
Joseph Pithekar - Sunday, 4 October 2015 AT 03:09 PM IST
The present Pope does not talk from high towers. He wants to dialogue with every section of humanity, especially the poor and neglected. he sends very powerful message for India too. This man goes beyond religion, but does not minimize values. now that our government is trying to impose their values and almost non acceptable values on every one he could be a model to follow. He thinks of the Church for the poor and of the poor. Could our country be for the poor and of the poor.

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