5 Things I Wish Pope Francis Knew About America

5 Things I Wish Pope Francis Knew About America September 24, 2015
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Michael Doughertyhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/md888/
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Michael Doughertyhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/md888/

I wish Pope Francis had time to meet the real America instead of spending all his time with politicos.

I wrote about that longing for Catholic Vote, listing 5 things I wish Pope Francis knew about us.

Here’s part of what I said:

I wish Pope Francis could see Oklahoma … and Colorado … and Big Bend. I wish he had time to take a road trip along the long stretches of lonely road that crisscross this country. I wish he could meet the good people who are the real America.

As he noted in his address at St. Matthews this morning, he is from a big country, too. But America is such a sweep of a nation. I am almost as many miles from Pope Francis as London is from Cairo; and yet we are both in the USA.

It’s sad that his entire trip will be confined to a few cities on the East Coast. Not that there is anything wrong with those cities. It’s just that they do not reflect the whole of America; not anymore than a salad, no matter how tasty, reflects the steak that is to come.

Most of Pope Francis’ time here will be spent with priests and politicians. That is not exactly representative of the whole of the American people.

I thought about this early this morning, while I drove my mother to adult day care. I drove part of the way behind a school bus, picking up kids. I passed a woman, walking her dog, and a man out for his morning jog. The flowers were in bloom. The sun peeked over the rim of the prairie with its good morning light.

I saw all this, and I thought, America really is beautiful. The peace and security of this morning drive must seem like an unattainable dream to many people in the world.

Here are 5 things that I hope Pope Francis can somehow understand about us.

Read the rest here.

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10 responses to “5 Things I Wish Pope Francis Knew About America”

  1. “I wish Pope Francis could see Oklahoma … and Colorado … and Big Bend. I wish he had time to take a road trip along the long stretches of lonely road that crisscross this country. I wish he could meet the good people who are the real America.”

    I don’t appreciate the regionalism that calls those of us in the area the pope is visiting not-real-Americans (fake Americans? imaginary Americans?). We’re all one nation. We fought the world wars together, we landed on the moon together.

    The pope has a whole world to shepherd and his responsibilities to Rome. He can’t visit all fifty states. If he’s going to be meeting a maximum number of people in a minimal amount of time, the northeast corridor and California are unfortunately his best bets.

    • I didn’t mean that the people Pope Francis will see while he’s here aren’t “real Americans.” Didn’t say it. Didn’t mean it.

      • I’m sorry to react defensively, but perhaps the wording of ” I wish he could meet the good people who are the real America,” threw me off. It implies that those he’s meeting don’t constitute “the real America.” I’ve seen the phrase “the real America” used too often as the counter-insult to “flyover country” (a phrase I don’t hear in real life, just read on the internet, and usually I see it used sarcastically). I see so much on the internet pitting regions against regions, but that’s like everything on the internet, pulling at the extremes.

        Re-reading your article in context, including the line, “Not that there is anything wrong with those cities,” I see that you meant something along the lines of, “I wish he could meet more of the good people who make up our great country.”

    • One country, yes, but lots of regions and lots of variety. The people are different, too, the way we talk, idioms, customs, even culture.
      And, ya know, they call all us who don’t live in the “parentheses” flyover country.

      • First, and most importantly, I find calling any part of the country “flyover country” at least as bad as (and probably worse than) calling any region “real America.”
        Second, our regional diversity is pretty low compared to most other large countries. We don’t have something like Quebec, we’re not Spain or India where the different regions have different languages, and we have a huge regional mobility. (In my own family, my parents have three kids in three time zones. Look up the numbers of Americans born in a different state than they live in; compare that with, for example, the number of Scottish people born in Scotland. That’s a big part of why independence for an American state is pretty unthinkable whereas there was that close referendum in Scotland.)

        Yes, we have a lot of diversity, but it’s spread throughout the country-every state has people from all over the world and different languages and cultures.
        The pope can’t spend a meaningful amount of time in all fifty states of our country anymore than he should be visiting all 27 states of Brazil or the 11 provinces of the Congo. He’s got a world to visit and his duties as bishop of Rome.

  2. I thought the same thing. I wish they had driven him from Washington to NY so he could at least see a little of the country.
    I just read a recollection about JPII’s visits to the U.S. He loved the northeast when he visited, but it was when he went to WYD in ’93 that he came to understand the breadth, depth, extent of the country, the vast variety of land and people and the depths of our devotion. Prior to that, he said he though the renewal of the Church would come from the east that had suffered so much. After WYD, though he said the youth who now are adults, were the revitalizing force in the Church.
    I hoped PF would have the same experience.
    His statement that he also came from a vast country was sad. Argentina is ⅓ the size of the U.S. I saw the prejudices I’ve encountered from Argentines who don’t know us.

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