When not in Rome

Sarah Lentz, Staff Writer

I am not a Catholic, but last week, I caught the papal fever like many Americans seemed to. You can’t deny the man is charismatic.

During Pope Francis’ U.S. tour, you could not turn on the TV or read the news without seeing something about the Pope.

While he is not the leader of my particular faith, I have discovered I still respect the man. I like that fact that the first pope from the Americas is also the first Jesuit pope; double innovator.

More than anything, I respect that he takes his vow of poverty to heart. The Catholic Church has had struggles with corruption, with the Vatican at the center of many of the issues. The pope has cut his spending, compared to his predecessors, and lives more like members of the faith than leaders of it. I was also pleasantly surprised that this pope seems genuinely sincere about dealing with the child sex abuse that has been all too prevalent within the church.

Though I’m extremely opposed to mixing religion with politics, I actually didn’t mind that the Pope addressed Congress. I love a good pot-stirring event and Pope Francis can stir with the best of them.

All I could do was laugh when certain members of Congress and political pundits were up in arms about his address, advocating for keeping climate change in check and just basically being better people. Most of the people screaming the loudest that religious leaders have no right to speak in front of Congress, are the same jags who want to defund Planned Parenthood because abortion is against their religion and think Kim Davis is the bees knees. But Bible cherry-picking is a whole other can of worms.

Most of all, as a Christian, I am happy to see someone who is science-savvy, as one of the world’s most important religious leaders. I’ve always been a big believer that you can’t have science without religion and vice-versa. Galileo can feel vindicated that the same religion that called him a heretic now has a former chemist at its head.