Monday, March 18, 2013

Habemus Papam: Pope Francis

Everyone is talking about the new Pope Francis, former Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and there’s indeed lots of reasons to be excited about it.

This is a man that just a few days ago, would take a bus and then walk into some of the worst shanty towns in South America, on his own. Even cops have to organize so as to enter by the dozens in these places, even hundreds when trying to arrest someone hiding there. He would visit them, baptize children there, help organize soup kitchens and spend time with some of the poorest, most needy people in the country while at the same time speak against the government handouts and state sponsored poverty.

A lot has been said about him in these last couple days. A Jesuit, humble man that refused to live in luxury when his position would have allowed him to do so. He lived  in a small two room apartment in Buenos Aires and traveled in bus and train. While of course strongly opposed to gay marriage and abortion, he’s not beyond helping those that society sometimes chooses to ignore.

He visited people infected with HIV, washed their feet as a sign of humility and servitude, he visited the victims of the Republica Cromagnon fire that claimed the lives of 194 people and those of the Once train station crash where 51 people died. Pope Francis, then just known as Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio (he didn’t like being called Cardenal) criticized the government. In the first incident, fire exits had been bricked shut or chained closed, clearly someone had bribed the fire inspector. Regarding the train accident its well known that the train failed to stop at the station due to breaks malfunction after decades of neglect by the train company that is subsidized (and supposedly supervised) by the government. The relationship between Cristina Kirchner, her late husband Nestor Kirchner and Pope Francis was “tense” to say the least.

Pope Francis didn’t beat around the bush when it came to calling out the visible corruption problems in the government and the crime Argentines have been suffering for years yet the government refuses still to acknowledge. Many times the then Cardenal Begoglio requested to meet with Cristina and Nestor Kirchner but was ignored. When he opposed the gay marriage law, one of Kirchner’s favorite liberal laws, he was mocked by president Cristina Kirchner, saying he belonged to “medieval times of the Inquisition” .
Typical of the Kirchner regime, Cristina sent her lap dogs so-called journalists and politicians against him. They accused him of collaborating with the military dictatorship that ruled from 1976 to 1983. This was proven to be a false accusation without merit and there’s actual witnesses, even victims saying he helped them during the dictatorship . What was Nestor and Cristina Kirchner doing at that same time? Working for banks, friends of the Junta, kicking people out of their homes and flipping them for profit. Nestor Kirchner’s sister, Alicia, actually worked for the Junta during the dictatorship, and now holds the position of Minister of Development.

Pope Francis held no special animosity against the Kirchners. He just called it as he saw it, just like he did when criticizing previous presidents to their faces during mass, Carlos Menem, Fernando DelaRua and Eduardo Duhalde. The problem is , authoritarian people like Cristina Kirchner and her late husband believe that anyone that dares question them is a mortal enemy.

What this got to do with survival and preparedness?

1) I for one, I am happy about Pope Francis. Not because he’s from Argentina like I am but because he will no doubt do at least some much needed cleaning in the Vatican, but also because a lot of people already see him for the honest man he is. During times like these we all need all the faith we can get, and the more people there are out there with strong moral values the better for all of us.
And there’s also a lesson to be learned:

2) No matter how much power you have, don’t make fun of others you consider beneath you, even if you are the president of a country and the other guy is an old priest that spends his time helping drug addicts and people sleeping on the streets.  You just never know, maybe one day that guy with well-worn shoes will become Pope and you’ll have to drag your sorry %$” over to the Vatican looking for his approval.

 originally at
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