Friday, June 19, 2015
How far does the moral authority of a religious leader extend to the public? The Roman Catholic pope is about to find out with his encyclical on the environment. Already he is getting blowback from politicians, Catholics and others who do not agree with his point of view. That is to be expected. There are many who believe the pope has no right nor duty to comment on issues of the day. This pope disputes that and has been active in pushing European governments on the refugee crisis as well as poverty. There is a chance that he might go too far and earn the enmity of those he is trying to persuade, but so far, he has worked with care to highlight issues and point to humanitarian needs. As long as he does that and avoids meddling in political issues, he should be a positive irritant and reminder to the world that there are issues we must address whether we like it or not. What better definition of moral authority than that?