The Celebrity Pope

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Pope Francis has good teeth. I noticed this about him in a picture connected with his recent visit to the U.S. This is as it should be for one who strives to be the new face of the Catholic church witnessed by the carefully choreographed Papal appearances in New York and other cities recently.

He is loved by the media because he preaches on their favorite themes of climate change, the plight of the disenfranchised and the evils of capitalism. Of course he comes by his world views honestly being raised and educated in Argentina's leftist politics and influenced by the "social gospel" of the 60's and 70's that sought to right the evils of poverty and violence in the world as a way to usher in the 2nd coming of Christ.

These ideas coupled with the Catholic church's expert ability to stage showy public events, married to the American media's search for even more recent celebrities was the perfect storm that enabled this Catholic Pope to promote a sitting president's agenda in the guise of moral imperatives. To be sure, consideration of the poor, good stewardship of God's creation and the dangers of materialism are primary themes for any religious leader to speak on but what was left unsaid by the pontiff, and under reported by a fawning media revealed this whole exercise for the public relations event it was created to be. Soft-pedaled or non-existent was any mention of the violence against the unborn, the attack on the family that is gay marriage and the systematic elimination of Christian values and teaching in public life, issues championed by the very administration that enabled and spotlighted the Pope's visit!

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

- Mark 16:15

Francis was given a platform upon which to speak rarely permitted a Christian leader in modern times. His populist message pleased his hosts, thrilled the crowds on the parade route and earned the polite applause of politicians but in the end the gospel wasn't preached and the lost were left searching.