Rev. Robert Sirico: Papal Message Must Cut Through Media Noise In U.S. Visit
Religion & Liberty Online

Rev. Robert Sirico: Papal Message Must Cut Through Media Noise In U.S. Visit

With only a few weeks before Pope Francis makes his first U.S. visit, the media frenzy is already beginning. At Crux, the observation is made that “pet projects” of Catholics across the nation will be vying for Vatican attention. However, the pope likely has his own agenda.

With his encyclical, Laudato Si’, still fresh in people’s minds, Pope Francis will certainly speak to the environment. Also, the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia is on his schedule. But with stops in New York City and Washington, D.C., talk will also likely turn to business and economics. And that, says Acton Institute President Rev. Robert Sirico, is concerning.

[Pope Francis] has an allergy to economics, that he doesn’t quite get it, that he’s never really studied it,” Sirico said, referring to the pope’s admission that economics isn’t his forte.

Nobody wants to be simply denounced, they don’t want to be condemned,” he said. “They want to be challenged. It’s his role to challenge everybody, including affluent people. But you’ve got to know what it means.”

Sirico, who will be in the Capitol during the papal address as a guest of US Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga, said he hopes Pope Francis talks about not only sharing wealth, but sharing knowledge and skills with others.

“Poverty is not necessarily the result of oppression,” he said. “It may be a result of a lack of knowledge, or even access.”

With Francis’ proclivity for speaking off the cuff, it will be interesting to see what he draws attention to during his time in the United States.

Elise Hilton

Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.