This Thursday, March 27, 2014, the leader of this world’s most prominent nation and the leader of the world’s most prominent religion, will have a meeting in Rome. It is the United States’ first African-American President. It is the Catholic Church’s first pope from Latin America. Both have made Time magazine’s cover. Both have supporters and opponents. Obama has been in office 6 years while Francis only two. USA’s president currently is burdened with an unstable economy, a stalled immigration reform, a challenged health-care reform and a leadership rating that is currently highly disapproving. The Catholic Church’s leader, on the contrary, has not yet accumulated as much negativity and is presently enjoying high ratings of approval. However, Francis is busy correcting inherited blemishes of the church such as its hierarchical power and sometimes opulence; along with the recent scandal of the near 1% of priests found guilty of the great crime of pedophilia.
These two influential world leaders stand opposed in some fundamental differences: one respecting and protecting the unborn, the other endorsing and financing abortion clinics; one upholding traditional marriage, the other extending it to same-gender couples; one viewing world poverty and hunger from the eyes of those afflicted, the other from the helm of the world’s most affluent county. Pope Francis measures the greatness of a society in the way it treats those in need; President Obama in citizens’ employment and prosperity (actually this last variant might be harmoniously focused on the same goal).
I find it a wonderful and admirable event – the meeting of these two men showing mutual respect and friendship with a collaborative and dedicated spirit to serve humankind. Their leadership roles are filled with constant demands and challenges along with positive and negative critiques.
May this meeting this week be guided and enlightened from on high, embellishing a bond between them of benign leadership. May we all feel the obligation to submit our prayers for their addressing world needs.
“…..for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing”. [Rom. 13:6]
The Rev. John Burkhart Ph.D, is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of psychology
firstname.lastname@example.org blog at inspirationsandideas