At his presentation at the US Congress, Pope Francis did not speak about Jesus Christ and the basics of Catholicism and Christianity in general. He spoke about One God for everybody – Jews and Christians, Catholics and Protestants, Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists, Religious and Non-Religious. He spoke about what unites all of us as unique human individuals created in the image and likeness of God.
And what unites us is the universal moral principles of the Torah, which are valid and true for all humans as One God’s guidance for building a better world for everybody. Those Torah principles are treasured by all spiritual streams of Judaism and Christianity. However, in addition to those Torah principles, each spiritual stream created something else that distinguishes it from the others and defines its own way in searching for God’s truth.
At the beginning of his presentation, the Pope Francis reminded the two fundamentals of the Torah. They are the story of Moses who brought the God’s guidance from God to all humans in the Torah, and the most important concept of the Torah that all human individuals have to treat other human individuals in the way they would like to be treated – because God created all humans in His image and likeness as equals.
In the rest of his presentation, the Pope described the challenge of addressing the contemporary world problems through the prism of treating everybody in the image and likeness of God. The underlying thought in the Pope’s presentation was clear – all contemporary world challenges have to be resolved, based on the Judeo-Christian moral principles. The Pope’s presentation reminded us the Church-State separation should be understood correctly: it is the separation of official religious institutions from official government institutions – it is not the separation of Judeo-Christian morality from legislative work of government institutions.
The Pope listed the most urgent contemporary challenges, which should be addressed through the prism of Judeo-Christian morality such as
-Mass immigration in search for hope and happiness,
-Seeing in the world not just Good and Evil but all shades of God-guided behavior,
-Not replacing tyrants by other tyrants,
-Fighting poverty and hunger,
-Preserving and strengthening traditional families,
-Preserving Nature created by God, etc.
There are two basic ways to address all those challenges:
–the Judeo-Christian Bible-based way through individual and collective charity/mitzvah and
–the way through government-forced redistribution of wealth.
The Judeo-Christian way creates opportunities and hope for everybody – rich and poor, whites and blacks, religious and non-religious, and a sort of community unity. The government-forced redistribution of wealth creates disunity and feeling of envy and entitlement. And that is a contemporary political battle field in the USA, Israel and many other countries.
The very important underlying message of the Pope: religious people and their leaders have to get involved in the politics to preserve and strengthen there the Judeo-Christian moral principles. And our rabbis should not be scared to follow this message.