Asia Media International Founder Tom Plate writes: The transcendent leader will offer real-life visions that rise well above the mundane without losing sight of the ground. Hunger is real; living without a roof over one’s head is real; feeling worthless as a human being is as real as it gets. This past week, especially in his unforgettable address to the U.S. Congress, Pope Francis showed the world that he gets this – and much else.
And so this new Pope has been an extraordinary gift to us: of a continued and steady vision of humility grounded in true universal humanitarianism.
His philosophical starting point is that we are all equal in the eyes of God. No one is better or greater than anyone else simply because they drive a fancy car, or live in Beverly Hills, or attend a fancy university. To look down on another human, for such venal reasons as income or social status, is – in a manner of speaking – mortally sinful.
But clearly, the reality on the ground of Earth is that we are not all equal, except presumably in the eyes of God, who exists but in the eyes of Catholics and of course, in one form or the other, in the view of other world religions. So what grounds the philosophy of equality, then, is more a matter of faith than of reason, of hope or even worthy ambition rather than empirical verification or even – let us admit – common sense.
Asia Media International, which prefers the papal perspective on this issue, exists on the sprawling and spledidly luminous Los Angeles campus of Loyola Marymount University, which is, proudly, one of 28 historically Jesuit colleges or universities in the U.S. But students here represent a wide range of religious belief and cultural identity: Less than half our student body comes from Catholic families; our faculty Catholic percentage is well less than that. Even so, the inspiring humanitarian views and sensitive presentations of Pope Francis last week have been viewed and received here with special pride and attention. In a chaotic globalized world, there must be a case for faith as well as reason, and no one has made it better than the world’s First Jesuit, Pope Francis.