Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.

 

Beacon of Hope

There is much to abhor about the Catholic Church, from laundering money to repressing women to abusing young boys. Not to mention the Inquisition. The new pope brings hope of change. The first sign was his name: of the 266 popes, he is the first to choose Francis, the gentle 12th- century monk who was canonized but never ordained. St. Francis didn’t just preach to birds. In the view of some historians, he represented an alternative path – ministering to the dispossessed and advocating the equality of all things before God, rather than their subjugation by man – which the church systematically stamped out. Pope Francis’s first official trip was to the island of Lampedusa, the destination of millions of African migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Thousands never make it, drowning at sea in smugglers’ boats. It is a place much like the American southwest, but the pope’s plea that Lampedusa be “a lighthouse in all the world” is rarely heard in Arizona. “How many times,” Francis asked, “do those who seek this not find understanding, reception or solidarity?” Last week, he linked the horrific shipwreck off Lampedusa to the “inhuman global economic crisis, a serious symptom of a lack of respect for the human person.”

“Today is a day of tears,” he said. “Such things go against the spirit of the world.”

Remember our own better self? “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses learning to breathe free . . . I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Naked in the Modern World

Mama Warned Me