Dear Editor: The Editor’s Space (Jan. 6) on your expectations for the agendas of Pope Francis and President Trump was puzzling and disturbing.
You correctly note pronounced differences between them, but then go on to create an unfortunate identity in their actions and underlying principles. Let me note one particular problem.
You state that people “do not want to be controlled by abusive rules and overbearing laws and so they are responding positively when their leaders unleash their ability to chart their own courses.”
I do not think that Pope Francis is endorsing an unbridled self-determination. In line with his predecessors, especially Pope St. John Paul II, he insists repeatedly on one of the pillars of Catholic social teaching, the principle of solidarity.
This means that we achieve our fullest potential in our service to others and the larger community. This requires empathy, compassion, humility and persevering commitment, especially to the most vulnerable in our society. It demands an awareness that ultimately we are responsible to everyone for everyone and for everything. This is not a comfortable teaching and indeed can be burdensome. But it becomes possible when we contemplate the One who took upon Himself the burden of our sinful humanity.
Msgr. John Strynkowski
Dear Editor: I was deeply troubled by your comparison of President Donald Trump and Pope Francis (Jan. 6). Your comparison has troubled me all week. I was reminded of the absurdity of the comparison when President Trump referred to certain countries as “s-hole” countries.
Donald Trump is the President of the United States and needs to speak and act with the dignity and integrity that the Office of the Presidency requires. This office should not belittle people and call names. What are we teaching our children? We want our children to learn respect and tolerance.
President Trump is not a role model for our children. He says whatever comes into his head. He has little impulse control and does not think of the consequences of what he says. What kind of President insults the head of a bellicose nation by calling him “Rocket Man?” Then, he made it worse by saying he has a bigger button on his desk to escalate tension. Name calling and bragging about being bigger and better can only heighten tensions.
Pope Francis welcomes the poor and the immigrants. He is a man of God, living out the Gospel values. He does not call people names when he disagrees. He treats individuals with dignity and respect. He is a role model for our children. He is a man of peace.
Perhaps the common thread is that both men speak from the heart. The heart of Pope Francis speaks humbly and gently. He is a holy man seeing God in each of us. Therefore, he treats all people deeply conscious of their innate goodness. His heart cannot treat people disrespectfully.
On the other hand, when President Trump speaks from his heart, he mocks and ridicules. He demeans the dignity of human beings.
Whether we are Democrats or Republicans, we need to treat everyone with respect. We need to teach our children that Pope Francis is a person to emulate. I remain horrified by your comparison of Pope Francis and Donald Trump.
Dear Editor: It was heartening to read Bishop DiMarzio’s intelligent and compassionate comments on immigrants (Jan. 6).
Also, the cartoon on the op-ed page was right on target as to the qualities missing in 2017. I was struck by the dichotomy between these two pieces and the comments found in The Editor’s Space attempting to equate the Pope and the President.
The pope epitomizes the qualities noted in the cartoon. Can the same be said of the president?
Sandy Springs, Ga.
Editor’s Note: There was no attempt to equate the pope and president, just pointing out that each has tapped into a different public sentiment.