Religious Not Political (Pope Francis at the U.S. Capitol)


Ungracious, the one thing George Will probably gets right in his critique of Pope Francis’ very moving speech to Congress is that, yes, it’s probably true that the Pope does not know how to alleviate poverty. Regarding Will’s article, it’s a keeper, you can read it here. For all the political content that it brought together, the form of Pope Francis’ speech was homiletical, i.e. religious not political in the narrow and practical sense of the term. It was written for the pulpit and transferred to the Capitol. Based in a common sense moral force and a religious point of view, the remarks before Congress don’t do the political work of translating principle into policy, the actual work of social and economic ordering that defines the political as an art and actual practice. More rhetorical than “real,” they are enough to put the moral and religious wind behind the sail of a politician willing to tack forward in the same direction.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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