Pharos-Tribune

Breaking News

Columns

May 22, 2013

KITCHELL: New pope gives us hope for a better world

LOGANSPORT — I’m not a member of the Roman Catholic faith, but if I were, I think I’d be proud of the new leader cardinals chose for my denomination.

For those who may have missed it, Pope Francis, the first Papal choice from South America, is distinguishing himself right away as someone who is going to stand for being actively religious in the big picture sense, and that’s something that’s not necessarily been fashionable among religious leaders.

When he assumed the role after Pope Benedict stepped down, Francis surprised some by making a long-distance call from Vatican City back to South America – just to cancel his newspaper subscription. It was thought to be a joke at first, but it wasn’t. It’s just a sign of a man who lives and breathes the notion that no job is too small for him to do, even if he has an entire country and denomination at his disposal.

Francis took his name from St. Francis of Assisi, an austere model of devotion and selflessness. In this material world, it’s a concept that may be lost on many of us, but Pope Francis is focusing on a constituency that has no Super PACs, universities, clothing lines or branding – the poor. This week, he’s taking aim at the world’s largest corporate bankers and the concept of greed which he refers to as a cult. That may be harsh to some, but the fact is that the gap between rich and poor people in this world is growing, even as we continue to grow in population.

Since Mother Teresa’s death, no one major world figure has stepped forward to assume the pulpit of spokesman for the poor like she did so marvelously.

There are several good reasons to think about the poor and lift them up from the bottom rungs of the ladder. One is that the largest percentage of poor people in this country and the world are children, the portion of the population that has little say in how much they eat each day or how much is tucked away for their college education. In Indiana, there is a segment of the poor who will not benefit from enhanced medical services they would have enjoyed had Medicaid been expanded for them as it has been in other states.

What Francis can draw attention to is not just the concept of greed in the world, but the creeds of so many religions, nations and organizations which can set aside differences and work to nourish the truly needy. If Francis could solve hunger issues in North Korea or central Africa alone, he should win a Nobel Peace Prize. It won’t be easy, but it is necessary.

He also has the issue of resources facing him. As the world grows, demand for petroleum isn’t the only demand growing. There will be more stress on immigration in certain parts of the world, more people to feed which means more food to plant and process, and more jobs that have to be created to maintain economic stability around the globe.

According to some theories, that should all happen whether a pope raises issues associated with population or not. But the reality is that there are few people, if any, who bring the clout to a discussion like a pope can. Pope John Paul II was critical in so many issues of world importance, including the end of Communism in Poland.

There are those who will quote the passage from the Bible that reads “The poor will always be with you” and interpret that to mean that whether we work hard to help poor or not, it won’t matter. I don’t think that was the intent of that verse. I take it to mean that it means the poor will always be the responsibility of those who aren’t, and it’s up to us to do something about it.

From what I’m witnessing so far, Pope Francis has a similar sentiment.

Dave Kitchell is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at ptnews@pharostribune.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • KITCHELL: Tax bills show what smoke & mirrors don't There's a price to be paid for the decline in what we call civic engagement -- and local property taxpayers are paying that price. In case you haven't received your 2014 Cass County property tax statement yet, be prepared for a bit of sticker shock w

    April 23, 2014

  • MARCUS: Illinois brings joy to Indiana From the email this week, I sensed a profound need by Hoosiers to find joy in the problems of Illinois. Our neighbors to the west are fighting their way through a mess of their own making. They have forced themselves to raise taxes and cut services t

    April 22, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: Wait a minute here — what did I just sign? When Dr. Sam said, "You've got the prostate of a 16-year-old," it was hard to keep from beaming. This must be how a woman feels when a complete stranger tells her she has a beautiful baby. Well, maybe not quite. Still, it was hard not to feel proud o

    April 22, 2014

  • LYONS: How we devalued the 'R' word At the risk of angering somebody like MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, I sometimes used to joke that I only look white. Actually, I'm Irish. Meaning basically that I wasn't raised to think the man in the big house had all the answers, nor deserved all t

    April 21, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards. That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation

    April 21, 2014

  • KNISELY: Adventures in cat spaying If you're a regular reader of this column, you know I have a cat. I got the cat to deal with the mice. Even if you only pop in on this column from time to time, you still likely know I have mice and that I hate them. I complain about it quite regular

    April 20, 2014

  • GUTWEIN: Strengthening Indiana for Hoosier veterans America's legacy was built on the foundation created by our brave service men and women. Whether they defended our nation's borders overseas or assisted Hoosiers during the harsh winter months, we need to do everything we can to make Indiana the best

    April 20, 2014

  • CEPEDA: Baseball's sacred temple Call it a character defect, but I don't like baseball. And I especially don't like the Chicago Cubs -- losers I never found lovable. I grew up less than a mile west of Wrigley Field and games there represented summer-long inconveniences such as midda

    April 20, 2014

  • HOWEY: Doctors Brown and Bucshon become seekers Seated across the table from me at Cafe Patachou were Drs. Tim Brown and Larry Bucshon. Dr. Bucshon was a heart surgeon from Newburgh. Dr. Brown is an emergency room physician from Crawfordsville. What made this breakfast meeting extraordinary is tha

    April 20, 2014

  • WOLFSIE: High-tech got you down? I love where I bank. It's a branch inside of a big supermarket. I can make a modest withdrawal and then go and blow every last penny in the cookie aisle. The tellers at the window appreciate me. They know about my obsession with round numbers and und

    April 18, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.