Here’s a response to the Pope’s recent speech on nuclear weapons. Video and full text of the Pope’s remarks are available here.
First, let’s all give a big thumbs up to the Pope for speaking publicly about the threat of nuclear weapons.
Simply the fact that he addressed the subject at all puts him way ahead of the American politicians currently running for President, who appear to consider a President’s most awesome responsibility not really worthy of discussion.
Next, as is typically true of Catholic communications, the Pope’s speech is intelligent, articulate and well intended. I appreciated that the Pope would clearly state that the possession of nuclear weapons is immoral.
And let we American taxpaying voters recall that here in the United States, it is we the free citizens who own these civilization ending weapons. They don’t belong to the President or the military, they belong to us.
And now, on to the constructive complaints…
As seems typical of the Pope’s speeches, he is eloquent when addressing moral theory in a general manner, but seems somehow reluctant to offer detailed suggestions on how his moral teachings might be implemented.
In my view, the missing call to action undermines the credibility of the Pope’s message. If the threat really is as serious as the Pope says, and it surely is, shouldn’t we be doing something about it?
What action does the Pope suggest? Prayer? Is that it? Are we supposed to beg God to do that which we ourselves should be doing? I’m reminded here of that stern over the top of her glasses look my Mom used to give me when I was acting the fool, and can almost hear God replying to our prayers with words along the lines of, “Get back to me when you’re serious…“
Personally, I would have been far more impressed if the Pope had used the speech to rally the audience and his followers around some specific action plan.
Maybe something like this?
There are a billion Catholics on this planet.
Suppose each Catholic donated one dollar a year to a Catholic nuclear weapons fund? The Vatican would then have a budget of one billion dollars a year to fund a global marketing campaign aimed at amplifying the Pope’s teachings on nuclear weapons.
Ok, so even a dollar a year would be burden on some poorer Catholics in the third world, so the richer Catholics in the developed world could make up the difference. There are something like 70 million registered Catholics in the United States, sounds like a good place to start. At just $14 per year, or a bit over a dollar a month, American Catholics could pay the entire bill by themselves.
Should the Vatican start such a fund I will personally donate $100, and I haven’t been to Mass in 50 years (this post helps explain why). C’mon you guys, call my bluff, make me pay up!
The Pope called upon politicians to act, as he should. But why doesn’t he act? Not just talk, act. The Pope has more followers than the populations of the United States and Russia combined, and he surely has more credibility than the current leaders of either of these nations.
Given that the Catholic Church owns a global real estate empire that must be worth billions to trillions of dollars, is it really so hard for the Pope to ask his followers for one dollar a year?
A billion dollars a year to spread the Pope’s message on nuclear weapons. Why not?
Dear brothers and sisters in the Vatican, the wonderful sounding talking of the talk is only credible when it is seen to be directly connected to the walking of the walk. You have vast power at your finger tips. Please use it. Thank you.