A bipartisan-authored resolution to honor Pope Francis for his “inspirational statements and actions” has stalled in Congress.
The reason isn’t because they have more pressing issues that need immediate attention before their upcoming recess, like the situation in Gaza, the Central-American children being held at the border, or the growing unrest in Eastern Europe.
It’s because Republicans believe Pope Francis is “too liberal,” according to statements made by a Republican backer of the legislation to The Hill. Out of the 221 co-sponsors of the resolution, only 19 are Republicans.
The pope sounds “like [President] Obama. [Pope Francis] talks about equality — he actually used the term ‘trickle-down economics,’ which is politically charged,” said the GOP official.
Specifically, Pope Francis said last November that,
“…some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”
And nothing riles up the GOP like attacking free-market capitalism — except maybe the topics of abortion and gay marriage, both of which the pope has told the Catholic Church to back off.
Rep. John Larson (D-CT), one of the authors of the resolution, wrote a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who is Catholic, on Friday, asking for a vote by the House.
“To my knowledge this would be an historic first,” Larson wrote. “I ask that you take a look at a bipartisan resolution introduced by Representative Peter King [R-NY] and myself, acknowledging the first Pope from the Americas … it is my sincere hope that you will consider this resolution for the suspension calendar for a vote.”
The lack of a vote is somewhat surprising since, in March, Boehner himself invited Pope Francis to address Congress when he is in the US next year for the Catholic Church’s World Meeting of Families.
Boehner’s invitation praised the pope’s calls for “the protection of the of the most vulnerable among us—the ailing, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, the impoverished, the unborn,” saying that his “principles are among the fundamentals of the American Idea.”
Given the GOP’s attempts to dismantle programs that protect “the most vulnerable,” the pope’s visit might actually cause the Republicans to reflect on their actions and the harm that they cause. And God, and probably the pope himself, knows that’s something they hate to do.