Pope Francis Says Family Is ‘Factory of Hope’

27 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Mark Wahlberg Jokes About ‘Ted,’ Asks Pope To Forgive Him.

The actor was the master of ceremonies on Saturday night while Francis sat on stage to hear from families and musical performances at the World Meeting of Families event. After Bobby Hill, 14, of the Keystone State Boychoir performed an opera solo, he told Wahlberg that he liked his performance in the movie about an angry talking teddy bear. “He whispered in my ear that he liked the movie Ted,” Wahlberg said. “I told him that was not appropriate for his age. Holy Father, please forgive me.” The Boston-born actor, who also played Vince Papale in Invincible, a film about a real-life walk-on who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1970s, also gave a “Go Eagles!” cheer from the stage. Wahlberg wasn’t just lending some extra star power to the event — he is someone who has said, “Being a Catholic is the most important aspect of my life.” Of course, he is also someone who has called Tom Brady “a great American hero,” which makes sense, given that Wahlberg is from Boston.

While introducing Herb Lusk, a former Eagles running back who became a pastor, Wahlberg finished his remarks with, “Go Eagles.” Tale a look: Of course, Wahlberg does have a reasonably strong connection to the Eagles, given that he played local hero Vince Papale (an apt name for Saturday’s events) in the 2006 film, “Invincible.” But he may have to perform a penance or two for his fellow New England fans, especially before the Patriots play the Eagles on Dec. 6. But he did throw out another written speech entirely and, with apparent spontaneity, gave exuberant and unscripted remarks about God, family and love. “You know what God loves most?” he asked the crowd, hushed and enraptured on a moonlit night. “To knock on the door of families and to find the families who love each other – families who bring up their children to grow and to move forward. Who create, who develop a society of truth, goodness and beauty.” It was the Argentinean pontiff in parish priest mode, speaking from the heart, and off-the-cuff, to a flock which happened to include a live, global television audience. “A child once asked me – and you know that kids ask difficult questions – he asked me, ‘Father, what did God do before he created the world?’” The audience, which included Franklin, Sister Sledge, Mark Wahlberg, the comedian Jim Gaffigan and other warm-up acts, laughed, and the pope continued with a smile. “I can assure you, I found it really hard to answer the question.” It was a radical, unexpected departure from a prepared text, released to the media under embargo beforehand, which would have been his most politically explicit speech in his six-day US tour, which ends on Sunday.

In the text, which papal officials released for publication after the concert, Francis suggested the US had endangered its future by failing to support the poor with jobs and welfare programs. It called on Americans to embrace an idea beloved by Democrats and abhorred by Republicans: expand government support for housing, healthcare and workers’ rights. Instead of giving conservatives heartburn, however, Francis improvised a pastoral address, apparently a response to the emotion of families on stage who shared stories of immigration and hardship, as well as Franklin’s soaring performance of Ave Maria. “Before creating the world, God loved,” said Francis, developing a theme of the family, which he called “the most beautiful thing that God made”.

The 78-year-old, a former bouncer who reportedly had three girlfriends before becoming a priest, described the family as “a factory of hope”, each one with “divine citizenship”. He then cracked: “Some of you might say, ‘Of course, Father, you speak like that because you’re not married!’” He leavened somber reflections – that many families “carry a cross”, suffer indignities and separate – with similar wit. “Families face many difficulties,” he said. “Families fight. The planned speech lamented the struggles of Americans without employment or workers’ rights, the lack of access to basic health services, and the absence of reliable housing programs. “We cannot call any society healthy when it does not leave real room for family life,” the original speech reads. “We cannot think that a society has a future when it fails to pass laws capable of protecting families and ensuring their basic needs, especially those of families just starting out.” Intentionally or not, the pontiff’s politically tinged address would have bolstered his progressive reputation, even though traditional Catholic social doctrine has long espoused access to housing, medical aid and work. Five of those candidates are Catholics, and as frontrunner Donald Trump’s inflammatory remarks about “rapist” immigrants have pushed the race to the right wing, all the candidates have taken up positions on that issue, welfare programs, healthcare and climate change that are at odds with the pope’s.

In contrast, Sanders, the Vermont senator nipping at Hillary Clinton’s lead for the Democratic nomination for president, would have found himself the pope’s odd but most amiable ally after such a deeply critical speech. In a homily at Philadelphia’s largest cathedral, he exhorted the priests and religious orders to adapt to a “rapidly changing society” and better engage with lay women and young people.

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