CNS photo/Paul Haring

Pope can open United States to a broad range of justice work

  • September 25, 2015

NEW YORK - The Pope’’s tour of the United States has the power to re-engage Catholics in a broad range of work for justice and to rediscover a broader, more Catholic perspective, Kate Bini said shortly after Pope Francis’ address to the United Nations.

Bini, a parishioner at New York’s St. Columbus parish, is one of the lucky ones drawn by lottery to attend the Pope’’s Madison Square Garden Mass Friday evening.

““I felt we’’ve needed this Pope for a long time,”” said the 70-year-old retired buyer who worked in New York’’s garment district.
Bini is a co-founder of the St. Columbus peace and justice committee and active in the Global Catholic Climate Movement).

”Everything that he says works,”” Bini told The Catholic Register. “”It’’s good for the people in Congress, but also for the good of any people in the country, any country.””

Bini believes the Pope’’s style and rhetoric has the power to elevate the level of political and religious debate in the United States. Franci’s’ speeches reveal American extremism and win-at- all-costs politics as empty, cynical and fruitless, she said.

”The condition we are in now, where everybody talks at each other, has taken us as far as it can —– which is nowhere,”” said Bini.
By referring to America as the “land of the free and home of the brave” in the opening of his speech to Congress, the immigrant Argentinian Pope has reminded Americans of core American values that have been too long forgotten, she said.

She also believes the Pope has changed the channel for an American Catholic Church which has been too exclusively focused on birth control, abortion and gay marriage.

”He’’s a constant reminder that we’’re supposed to help others —– a reminder that that is our social teaching,”” said Bini.

American Catholics have been too long divided into social justice and anti-abortion camps and the two groups need to listen to Pope Francis when he urges dialogue. Both sides in the Church have to listen more carefully to the other.

Bini prepared for the Pope's UN speech the evening before by taking part in a prayer vigil at St. Columbus and by walking around the neighbourhood near the United Nations asking people to sign the Global Catholic Climate Change Movement’’s petition.

”Inspired by Pope Francis and the Laudato Si' encyclical, we call on you to drastically cut carbon emissions to keep the global temperature rise below the dangerous 1.5°C threshold, and to aid the world’’s poorest in coping with climate change impacts,”” reads the petition directed to world leaders taking part in the December UN negotiations in Paris. So far the petition has attracted more than 42,000 signatures.

Pope Francis presents a different image of Catholic activism than has been seen in recent decades, said Bini.

”Everyone has a kind word to say and is struck by him,”” she said. ““How low key he is. He doesn’’t accuse, he doesn’’t point a finger. He gives everyone such a good example.””


Read our complete coverage of the Pope's historic visit to the United States of America.

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