Well, Rome has invaded America–so to speak. The Pope has decided to pay us a little visit in the grand Ole U-S-A. The first by any pope in 7 years. He’s been given the royal treatment alright. All the while, not one reporter has even pondered the question of whether or not the head of the Roman Catholic Church even gives a damn about all of these Black people being killed by police within the past year. As the supposed moral head of one of the largest religious denominations in the world, he should be obligated. He’s spoke on everything else.
So how will this play out?
Racialized police brutality is the monster staring in the window. Does he confront it or does he just close the window blinds and pretend it’s not there? If he does speak out it will be unprecedented and will cement his credibility with an audience who is largely Protestant.
The Washington Post recently reported that St. Louis reverend Traci Blackmon met with the Pope’s advisers in Vatican City to discuss racial violence and unrest in Missouri and other places around the country. Blackmon believed that based on the Pope’s tendency to speak out on various issues over the course of his appointment; he believed that it would be most competent to speak about racism on his visit as well. “The history of Pope Francis’s remarks indicates that he wouldn’t come to the United States and not address the issue that’s most pressing,” she wrote. “And here, that’s race.”
Given the protests and the intense presence of the Black Lives Matter protesters, interrupting presidential candidates stump speeches, and provoking the public to acknowledge the presence and value of Black people’s lives,systemic racism, police brutality, etc., it just would make sense. This also would give strength to his demands for worldwide racism and discrimination to end.
In regards to American racism, Pope Francis has a large cache of historical denouncement and apology to reference.
You can’t preach the Gospel and not speak out against the violations of human dignity, life and basic right to life that the Bible teaches against.
As an individual, I really have never been motivated by any Pope. I was a child when Pope John Paul II came to Chicago in 1978. Like Pope Francis, he was very popular with the people. You know what he did? He apologized to African descented people for the Catholic Church’s role in slavery. Yes. The Catholic Church is guilty of this also. He acknowledged that the church did not always act morally in regards to the issue of human slave trafficking and bondage.
If Pope Francis does speak out against it, he will continue in the tradition of papal leaders to calling for an end to racial violence and injustice. He will thus become a natural ally with U.S. religious leaders for this continued American fight for freedom.
Only then will African Americans pay attention or even care.