Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Ronald Reagan and John Paul II ~ Thoughts for Today





These days there's a great deal of conversation and debate (more than a little of it unpleasant) about immigration, refugees, who may come here, who may not.

Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan met a number of times here in the United States and in Rome. I came across two statements, one from each leader that we might add to that conversation.

"I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind, it was a tall proud city built on  rocks stronger than oceans, wind swept, God blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace - a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here." Ronald Reagan ~ Farewell Address to the People of the United States, January 2, 1989.

"Solidarity means taking responsibility for those in trouble. For Christians, the migrant is not merely an individual to be respected in accordance with the norms established by law, but a person whose presence challenges them and whose needs become an obligation for their responsibility. "What have you done to your brother?" (Cf. Genesis 4:9). The answer should not be limited to what is imposed by law, but should be made in the manner of solidarity."  Pope John Paul II ~ The Church and Illegal Immigration ~ World Migration Day ~ July 25, 1995

12 comments:

  1. All Catholics have an obligation to recognize that the Church is made up of many different people from many different backgrounds and all are welcome. It is the duty of all Christians to build up their own shining cities open to all.

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  2. There's a very nice hymn sung in many Catholic churches these days: "All are Welcome." And the great colonnade in front of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome - two great gathering arms. We're supposed to reflect that bringing in - that gathering.

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  3. Two great men who took their leadership seriously and used their gifts to tear down divisive walls and encourage people to be open to change. The world was different then, but still in need of changes. Thanks for this reminder that all should not be lost, and for the young people who may not have heard this before.

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    1. These two men tore walls down. Walls come down for good reason. Building walls promotes separation and division among people whom we should view as our brothers.

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  5. There is great significance to their relationship. Their partnership is instructive because it shows how personal diplomacy can work, and how leaders' determination, persistence and willingness to think big can change the world. And whether you liked them or not, we cannot deny what they accomplished.

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  6. I do believe things are different now in America. I do believe we are not as safe in our homes, our schools and in the streets, as we were. Drugs are being brought into our country, from all over the world. Young fellas, from other countries forming gangs and terrorizing our children in schools. Families in neighborhoods afraid to let their children go out. People being killed by bombs at popular events. Different times, different precautions.

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  7. Indeed, "things are different now in America." I lived in Italy for three months a few years ago. Europeans say of us here "in the states" - "For all your news in America, you never ask why?" "They're jealous of all we have." "They're jealous of our freedoms." That's too easy - a conversation stopper. It takes a profound honesty and an equally profound humility to begin to answer the WHY questions. I don't know how many of us are up to it.

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  8. This reminds me of one of your homilies in which you said (I’m paraphrasing) “asking where someone is from is not a Catholic question. Catholics should not be concerned about immigration status, skin color or country of origin, but rather, who is hungry, who is thirsty, who needs shelter, and where are they, so I may help” I also spoke with you about one of my favorite gospel passages, Matthew 25:31-46 “The Sheep and the Goats” How glorious a world this would be if more people became less busy with themselves and their material possessions, to pause, even if for a brief moment to help someone in need. Then to actually be generous and giving without broadcasting it to the world. To be kind and loving, and willing to lend a helping hand.
    Unfortunately, in today’s day in age, we live amidst war, terrorism, suffering, racial tensions, fear, intolerance, poverty, and homelessness. Two famous and legendary men walked and talked with each other many decades ago, one to be canonized a Saint, and the other to be memorialized in history as one of the greatest American Presidents. They could not solve the problems in the world, but their words and influence inspired thought and a call to action. After all, isn’t the Shining City in which Reagan referrs to similar to what Saint John Paul II would compare to the Kingdom of God? Perhaps. Part of the problem today is that we have lost the art of conversation. What used to be the walk and talks like we see in the photo of Reagan and Pope John Paul II, they have been replaced with texting, FaceTime and social media. The art of conversation has been lost to technology. Sad. Perhaps if we had to look the people, and families that we are trying to keep out or throw out in the face, to look into their eyes, that we may see good and love, not evil. But we live in a world where hate breeds more hate. Where building walls and keeping certain people away from us gives us a sense of security and safety. It doesn’t. But, I understand it. I understand that as long as drugs, violent crime and terrorism plague our society, that those in positions of leadership must do what they can to protect whom they serve. It is unfortunately at the expense of those people that are in most need of our protection, our warm embrace, our compassion, our assistance, and most importantly, our love. Pray for all of our brothers and sisters affected by the worlds multitude of problems, and that the sick and suffering find peace.

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    1. I understand it also. The need to protect ourselves from crime and violence and even the economic burden. It is hard to balance that with the human issues. Both sides have valid points.

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    2. The most important word you use here is "balance." The entire document is accessed easily online. As I say to my friend below, many Catholics get their moral theology from their favorite radio talk guy. The pope's thoughts are easily understood, we don't have to be theologians or scholars. Google: Pope John Paul II The Church and Illegal Immigration - World Migration Day. Pope Francis seems to be picking up where John Paul ended.

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  9. Hi Michael! You're close, the homily bit was "Are you legal?" isn't a Catholic question. That's not to say it can't be asked. That's not to say it doesn't matter. But it's not the Catholic question. The Catholic questions indeed flow from Matthew 25. The Catholic questions are, "How can I help you?" "What do you need?" Yes - "Are you hungry? Have you a place to live?" You would find the entire text of Pope John Paul interesting. The Church and Illegal Immigration - World Migration Day. A lot of Catholics today get their "moral theology" from politicians and radio talk show hosts. Their favorite channel instead of their favorite gospel verse. Bless your family, Michael. Your daughters must be all grown up by now!

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