By Barbara Falconer Newhall
I'm wondering, will Pope Francis' visit lead Americans to rethink the vitriolic spitwads they've been throwing at each other lately -- in public, in private and online?
Pope Francis' patient, respectful speaking style puts to shame folks like the invective-spewing Donald Trump.
Francis and Donald -- the two men couldn't be more different. And I'm not talking about their politics or their theology. I'm talking about the way they respect (Francis) or disrespect (Donald) their fellow human beings.
Donald on Lindsey Graham: "A total lightweight. Here's a guy -- in the private sector he couldn't get a job. Believe me. Couldn't get a job."
Francis: "Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by
ices, drugs, or anything else--God is in this person's life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life."
Donald on Sen. John McCain: "He's not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."
Francis: "We have perfected our weapons, our conscience has fallen asleep, and we have sharpened our ideas to justify ourselves as if it were normal we continue to sow destruction, pain, death. Violence and war lead only to death."
Donald on Donald: "I have many millions [of followers] between Twitter and Facebook. It's great. It's like owning a newspaper without the losses. It's incredible."
Francis: "No one can grow if he does not accept his smallness."
Donald on Gov. Greg Abbott: "He's so vicious."
Francis: "Every man, every woman who has to take up the service of government, must ask themselves two questions: 'Do I love my people in order to serve them better? Am I humble and do I listen to everybody, to diverse opinions in order to choose the best path?' If you don't ask those questions, your governance will not be good."
Donald on immigrants from Mexico: "Tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico."
Francis: "There is a need for financial reform along ethical lines that would produce in its turn an economic reform to benefit everyone. This would nevertheless require a courageous change of attitude on the part of political leaders."
Donald on the Bureau of Labor Statistics: "Bunch of clowns. Bunch of real clowns."
Francis: "Among us, who is above must be in service of the others. This doesn't mean we have to wash each other's feet every day, but we must help one another."
Donald on Rick Perry: "He's doing very poorly in the polls. He put on glasses so people will think he's smart."
Francis: "Who am I to judge?"
Are Americans forgetting how to have an actual conversation? If so, I'm hoping the visiting pope's gentle, powerful style will refresh some memories.
"Living together is an art," says the pope. "It's a patient art, it's a beautiful art, it's fascinating."
I confess. Every now and then I'll cut loose with a bit of a rant. It's not exactly Trump-worthy vitriol, but it's a rant. Pope Francis -- or more precisely the male dominated Catholic church that he has inherited -- was the most recent object of my ire at "My Honeymoon With Pope Francis Is Over and Here's Why."
I also found myself having a strong reaction when I visited the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, where Islam and Christianity coexist -- and clash.
c 2015 Barbara Falconer Newhall. All rights reserved.