At last count, seven Catholics are running for president — six Republicans and a Democrat. But surprisingly, the candidate who’s talking about Pope Francis the most often is a Jewish guy from Vermont.
This past February, Sanders delivered a remarkable 15 minute speech from the U.S. Senate floor, built on an anthology of Pope Francis money quotes on signature issues of his pontificate: poverty and economic injustice. The hook? The invitation for Pope Francis to speak to Congress. Sanders opens with a nod of gratitude to (Catholic) House Speaker John Boehner, declaring, “I do not agree with the Speaker of the House John Boehner on very much. But I do agree that it is an excellent idea for there to be a joint session of Congress in the fall to hear from Pope Francis.”
Sanders then praises Francis for his “great courage in raising issues that we rarely hear discussed here in the Congress,” and begins reciting a litany of Francis quotes, remarkable for their poignancy and for the breadth of sources they’re drawn from. There’s a speech Francis delivered in the first couple months of his pontificate to newly appointed Vatican ambassadors, which declares, “The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal.” Next, a stark line from a general audience on UN World Environment Day, 2013: “Man is not in charge today, money is in charge, money rules,” Then, Francis’ critique of trickle-down economics from his apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel.”And it just keeps rolling.
To be precise, Senator Sanders’s speech was delivered several months before he officially threw his hat into the presidential ring. But since then, Candidate Sanders’s papal quoting has only gained momentum. One of America’s summer interns, Rob McCarthy, pointed out that on his official Senate twitter account, Sanders has tweeted a Pope Francis quote every single Sunday since May 24. (Save one…he missed June 7.)
Take a look at a couple of examples. You’re forgiven if you mistake Sanders’s feed for @Pontifex’s own.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 24, 2015
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) June 21, 2015
Though second place counts for not much in political races, another non-Catholic candidate has also been name-checking Pope Francis. John Kasich, an Anglican who’s also taken to referencing Francis in recent interviews, and appears to have channeled the pope in comments this week on poverty.
Taking my cue from Senator Sanders, I agree it’s an excellent idea for Congress (and the candidates) to hear from Pope Francis.
What quotes from Pope Francis do you want to see candidates tweeting and working into their stump speeches?