I woke up this morning and my Facebook news feed was plastered with the Vatican’s most recent statement on the Pope’s controversial visit with Kim Davis. As I’m sure most of us expected, and as Fr. Jim Martin expressed well even before the Vatican released their statement, the short version is that it probably wasn’t that big of a deal. Nevertheless, more than a few friends had shared it, commented on it, and promoted it in some way, shape, or form.
While I, too, am grateful for at least some level of response to the shameless self-promotion Ms. Davis has taken advantage of from the start, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “What does it matter?”
What does it matter what actually transpired between Pope Francis and Kim Davis if it means we are ignoring an event that I am certain Pope Francis expects us to pay attention to? You see, while a brief handshake is not necessarily a big deal, the loss of human life is (and should always be) a very big deal. As President Obama reminds in the powerful statement he made yesterday afternoon, the tragedy that occurred in Oregon is one for which we all are responsible. Indeed, if Francis’s visit this past week did nothing else, it reminded us of our shared responsibility for one another–not only as a community of faith, but as a community of humans. Obama continues: “Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We’ve become numb to this.” It sickens me to think that this level of tragedy has become routine. How dare it be claimed that we are numb. These are words which are difficult to hear, and even more difficult to consider as true. And yet, it was Kim Davis that littered my Newsfeed this morning…not the tragic loss of brothers, sisters, and friends.
Friends, the success of Francis’s visit is not dependent on whom he did or did not meet with; it is not even necessarily dependent on what he did or did not say. Rather, the success of the visit is dependent on how we as a community live out the Gospel as a result of it. Indeed,“If we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.”
My hope is that your Newsfeed looked different than mine did this morning. My hope is that your Newsfeed was covered not only with prayers for those suffering in Oregon, but also with anger, outrage, and a call to conversion wherein we rethink how we live out our value of human life. If not now, when?