The Vicar of Virtue-Signaling

"Vicar of Christ" is a historic description of bishops and popes, originally representing the "earthly manifestation of Christ."  The bishop of Rome, or the pope, is the modern-day example of the vicar of Christ.  He is currently known as Pope Francis, the 266th pope, the first Jesuit pope, and the first pope from outside Europe since the 8th century.

The outspoken Pope Francis is a proponent of social justice, perhaps influenced by his youth in Buenos Aires or a stint as a night club bouncer before joining the seminary.  He speaks passionately about climate change, immigration, and now guns.  Is the pope virtue-signaling?

On climate, Pope Francis sounds like Climate Cardinal Al Gore.  In a 2015 speech, the pope said humanity's "reckless" behavior has pushed the planet to a perilous "breaking point."  He then took a page from the Book of Revelation.  "Doomsday predictions," the pope warned, "can no longer be met with irony or disdain."

He went on: "[t]he Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth."  Is that so?  If he is referring to cities that follow the socialist doctrine he favors, such as San Francisco, Detroit, and Chicago, then he is spot on.  How is climate change creating piles of human excrement and used hypodermic needles littering the sidewalks of the once beautiful "City by the Bay"?

How is supposed climate change causing filth?  If the planet is indeed warming by a few degrees, expect barren northern lands to become green and fertile.  If the deserts are receiving more moisture, they will be flowering, creating Gardens of Eden where there were once endless vistas of sand.

Then there is immigration, another subject ripe for virtue-signaling.  Pope Francis visited America in 2015.  He repeated the hackneyed open borders line, saying "[h]e was happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by immigrants." 

Addressing Congress, the pope told his audience about America's history and how everyone is a foreigner or descended from one – just as you would hear from Jorge Ramos on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show, shaming America for having the gall to actually enforce its immigration laws.  These, by the way, are far more lenient than Mexico's own immigration laws.  Or those of the Vatican.

Pope Francis sent virtue signals to his flock of eager congressional open borders advocates.  The pope didn't, however, invoke the teachings of his heavenly investor, Jesus, who spoke of hypocrisy during his Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus asked his flock, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

Does the pope have a plank in his own eye regarding immigration?  It turns out, according to a 2012 Library of Congress study, that "[t]he Vatican, for its part, welcomes millions of visitors a year – but allows only a very select few, who meet strict criteria, to be admitted as residents or citizens."  In reality, only about 450 of its 800 residents hold citizenship, those being church cardinals, Vatican diplomats, and employees such as the Swiss Guard.

The Vatican is also surrounded by a high wall, similar to the walls and fences around the homes of elite American open borders proponents.  Walls for me but not for thee.  Wasn't anyone listening to the Sermon on the Mount?  If immigrants are so important, why doesn't the Vatican have an open borders policy?  Why is it that only America is tasked with accepting anyone from anywhere, without scrutiny or vetting, without limits or objections, forcing legal residents to pay the expenses of these illegal aliens?

Last, but not least, is the issue of guns.  Using the modus operandi of President Trump, specifically Twitter, the pope recently tweeted, "Do we really want peace?  Then let's ban all weapons so we don't have to live in fear of war."  He is not specific as to which weapons he wants banned.  Nukes, cluster bombs, stealth bombers, and aircraft-carriers?  Or handguns, rifles, knives, and hatchets?

Aside from the obvious reality that despite the desires of the pope and the laws of men, bad actors can still get their hands on weapons, how does such a ban create peace?  Nukes are not for sale on eBay, yet North Korea and Iran both have them.  Guns are banned in London, so bad guys are now using knives.  When knives are banned, then what?  Screwdrivers, sharp pencils, and scissors?

The world was a far more violent place before nukes, submarines, and AR-15s were invented.  Swords and battleaxes, catapults and fire were the weapons of past centuries, including biblical times, when the world was one big battle.  If banning weapons would create peace, why hasn't anyone thought of this until Pope Francis did in 2018?

Let go back to the "plank in the eye" sermon.  The pope wants weapons banned.  I presume he is referring, at least in part, to the weapons the men in black suits surrounding his "Popemobile" carry.  Why does the current Vicar of Christ not want to ban weapons from his security forces?

This is hypocritical virtue-signaling, just as we see from gun-grabbing elites in America.  They want to ban guns, except from the armed security guards surrounding them and their families.  Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama want guns removed from law-abiding citizens but not from the Secret Service agents protecting them.

Pope Francis would be well served to review the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus's teachings about hypocrisy rather than virtue-signaling with simplistic and impractical edicts.  This is foolish talk heard by foolish listeners.  As Jesus taught in the Gospel of Luke, "[a] blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he?  Will they not both fall into a pit?"

Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer.  Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

"Vicar of Christ" is a historic description of bishops and popes, originally representing the "earthly manifestation of Christ."  The bishop of Rome, or the pope, is the modern-day example of the vicar of Christ.  He is currently known as Pope Francis, the 266th pope, the first Jesuit pope, and the first pope from outside Europe since the 8th century.

The outspoken Pope Francis is a proponent of social justice, perhaps influenced by his youth in Buenos Aires or a stint as a night club bouncer before joining the seminary.  He speaks passionately about climate change, immigration, and now guns.  Is the pope virtue-signaling?

On climate, Pope Francis sounds like Climate Cardinal Al Gore.  In a 2015 speech, the pope said humanity's "reckless" behavior has pushed the planet to a perilous "breaking point."  He then took a page from the Book of Revelation.  "Doomsday predictions," the pope warned, "can no longer be met with irony or disdain."

He went on: "[t]he Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth."  Is that so?  If he is referring to cities that follow the socialist doctrine he favors, such as San Francisco, Detroit, and Chicago, then he is spot on.  How is climate change creating piles of human excrement and used hypodermic needles littering the sidewalks of the once beautiful "City by the Bay"?

How is supposed climate change causing filth?  If the planet is indeed warming by a few degrees, expect barren northern lands to become green and fertile.  If the deserts are receiving more moisture, they will be flowering, creating Gardens of Eden where there were once endless vistas of sand.

Then there is immigration, another subject ripe for virtue-signaling.  Pope Francis visited America in 2015.  He repeated the hackneyed open borders line, saying "[h]e was happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by immigrants." 

Addressing Congress, the pope told his audience about America's history and how everyone is a foreigner or descended from one – just as you would hear from Jorge Ramos on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show, shaming America for having the gall to actually enforce its immigration laws.  These, by the way, are far more lenient than Mexico's own immigration laws.  Or those of the Vatican.

Pope Francis sent virtue signals to his flock of eager congressional open borders advocates.  The pope didn't, however, invoke the teachings of his heavenly investor, Jesus, who spoke of hypocrisy during his Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus asked his flock, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

Does the pope have a plank in his own eye regarding immigration?  It turns out, according to a 2012 Library of Congress study, that "[t]he Vatican, for its part, welcomes millions of visitors a year – but allows only a very select few, who meet strict criteria, to be admitted as residents or citizens."  In reality, only about 450 of its 800 residents hold citizenship, those being church cardinals, Vatican diplomats, and employees such as the Swiss Guard.

The Vatican is also surrounded by a high wall, similar to the walls and fences around the homes of elite American open borders proponents.  Walls for me but not for thee.  Wasn't anyone listening to the Sermon on the Mount?  If immigrants are so important, why doesn't the Vatican have an open borders policy?  Why is it that only America is tasked with accepting anyone from anywhere, without scrutiny or vetting, without limits or objections, forcing legal residents to pay the expenses of these illegal aliens?

Last, but not least, is the issue of guns.  Using the modus operandi of President Trump, specifically Twitter, the pope recently tweeted, "Do we really want peace?  Then let's ban all weapons so we don't have to live in fear of war."  He is not specific as to which weapons he wants banned.  Nukes, cluster bombs, stealth bombers, and aircraft-carriers?  Or handguns, rifles, knives, and hatchets?

Aside from the obvious reality that despite the desires of the pope and the laws of men, bad actors can still get their hands on weapons, how does such a ban create peace?  Nukes are not for sale on eBay, yet North Korea and Iran both have them.  Guns are banned in London, so bad guys are now using knives.  When knives are banned, then what?  Screwdrivers, sharp pencils, and scissors?

The world was a far more violent place before nukes, submarines, and AR-15s were invented.  Swords and battleaxes, catapults and fire were the weapons of past centuries, including biblical times, when the world was one big battle.  If banning weapons would create peace, why hasn't anyone thought of this until Pope Francis did in 2018?

Let go back to the "plank in the eye" sermon.  The pope wants weapons banned.  I presume he is referring, at least in part, to the weapons the men in black suits surrounding his "Popemobile" carry.  Why does the current Vicar of Christ not want to ban weapons from his security forces?

This is hypocritical virtue-signaling, just as we see from gun-grabbing elites in America.  They want to ban guns, except from the armed security guards surrounding them and their families.  Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama want guns removed from law-abiding citizens but not from the Secret Service agents protecting them.

Pope Francis would be well served to review the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus's teachings about hypocrisy rather than virtue-signaling with simplistic and impractical edicts.  This is foolish talk heard by foolish listeners.  As Jesus taught in the Gospel of Luke, "[a] blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he?  Will they not both fall into a pit?"

Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer.  Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.