The times are indeed a changin’! Directions unheard of a generation ago now present confusion to travelers and residents, refugees and citizens, Republicans and Democrats and countless other opposites of polarities. Would anyone ever have imagined that Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, with over a billion of global followers and Donald Trump, the head of an international business conglomerate, valued at over a billion dollars would both be nominated to receive the Nobel Prize.
Often we hear that opposites attract. However precise this scientific observation maintained by Empiricists the distance between the motivations that drive each of these individuals are on two levels of human existence. Pope Francis embraces the temporal needs of the poor and the underprivileged. Pope Francis enhances his message with the Gospel, and the humanitarian activities of the global Catholic Church. Donald Trump perpetuates his message of extremist consumerism with pedagogical misunderstandings of political power conjoined with radical Capitalists that prey on those that are impoverished and often economically forgotten. Pope Francis transverses the globe in order to bring about a conversion of hearts, while Donald Trump travels the world suppressing the hearts of the less fortunate all within the guise of building a better world through his corporate enterprises.
The songs that inspired the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960’s are well attuned to the contemporary pleas and supplications of the millions of people in our global village that need the same recognition of their human rights, their physical needs and the restoration of their human dignity. Maybe we really have not travelled far from the cultural revolutions of the Age of Aquarius, the great riots of the 60’s, or the protests against the Vietnam War that clamored for among other things, justice, peace and equality. All of these things are distinctly rooted in the intrinsic dignity of human life. Ironically, despite revolutions in technologies, the rise of massive fortunes and the constant pleadings of successive Popes, Presidents, Prime Ministers and even dictators, the world is still singing songs made famous by Peter, Paul and (the late) Mary as invocations to whatever Deity will listen to abrogate the most basic sufferings of most of humanity, the lack of food, water, natural resources and a safe and clean place to call home. In the twenty-first century, these ballads that recall the great sociological revolution in our American and indeed global societies are really now lamentations, songful prayers that are answered minimally, as our global response to the eradication of hunger, suffering and global human poverty of both the stomach and the soul.
The call of Pope Francis makes the world realize that we are despite our ethnic, racial, political, religious or social affiliations part of a global family, one that needs to embrace the notions of forgiveness, mercy and justice in order to establish universal peace.
The political call of Donald Trump provides another divisive methodology to exclude most of humanity from access to the most basic examples of human success namely food, water, shelter and the economic ability to provide for one’s own personal and familial needs and requirements. Quite the contrast to the message that Pope Francis heralds to a global community of all peoples, that have heard many broken promises made by generations of politicians similar to Donald Trump.
The Catholic Church of the twenty-first century has a lot at stake with the pontificate of Pope Francis. What used to be considered, the Third World is now on the doorsteps of the First and Second Worlds, and is ringing the doorbell asking for not only their share of the dreams of all mankind, but for their intrinsic human rights. These rights have been unilaterally denied to them perhaps as far back since the Renaissance, and now what was considered as the Industrialized World needs to pay up. The universal mediator that is capable of bridging this great social and economic gap between these potentially colliding world views of human existence is the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, the bridge builder for a world that vacillates between the extremes of anarchy and universal peace. It is indeed time for the Universal Church to take its place among the global leadership as a guiding advocate for change, change sorely needed in Washington and in capitols spanning the globe.
While the Nobel Prize is an accolade accorded to individuals that have made significant contributions to society, or to the world’s social and political development, it is really an accolade that most recipients would consider themselves as unworthy. Presumably, Pope Francis would make this statement. His life, ministry and the Church he leads are indicative of such humility and unworthiness. In so far as Mr. Trump is concerned, his worldwide network of business interests on the surface at least indicate that the acceptance of the Nobel Prize would be an accolade worth of Donald Trump.
Despite the obvious polarities between two men, Pope Francis and Donald Trump both offer messages of contrasting beliefs and opinions. However, in this case, betting on the House of Trump only provides temporal satisfaction. When you take a bet on the longshot, Papa Francesco…he will not only win, place and show in this life but offers a message that will do the same thing in the next life.
The window is closing, where would you like to place your bet on the Nobel Prize?
Pope Francis to win, place and show or The Donald to bring up the temporal rear!
It’s up to you.