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A New Era of The Church Begins; The World Welcomes Pope Francis


Today in a world of instant technology, millions of eyes were glued on a smoke stack, and when white smoke was finally seen at 2:06pm (ET)…millions of eyes were glued to the red curtains. They were not awaiting a politician or a movie star…but a religious figure. In a world where there is a drastic separation between church and state, no one questioned network TV and public radio spending hours and days covering the news of a religious event. In a world where religion often takes a back seat…this was a welcome change. 

It is really hard to explain the feelings I have right now. It is just such an overwhelming feeling, I can describe it only as “epic.” This is the first year I was able to watch the beginning of Conclave and the revealing of the new Pope live and the video and pictures from the moment are so ceremonious and so beautiful, it looks likes something out of a movie. The crowd at St. Peter’s Square is filled beyond capacity. Thousands braved the cold and the rain to witness such a momentous moment in history. Once the crowd let out a roar and lights appeared behind the curtain…for those following moments, I did not Facebook, I did not Tweet, I did not text. Like millions of other people, I just took in the essence of the moment and simply watched the red curtains in anticipation for the new leader of the Catholic Church.

This was my first introduction to Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina…a man who will now forever be known as Pope Francis (the 1st). He seemed humble and very personable. It is noted that he is a known for his work with the poor and is supported among liberal cardinals. The new Pope asked the people of the world to pray for him and there was a hush among the crowd and it is hard to fathom the sense of overwhelming prayers that were offered in living rooms, in cars, at work…from people all around the world.

I don’t know how non-Catholics view this moment and I am sure some don’t understand the reason why a man is being revered my millions. But as  a Catholic myself, I feel like this is the moment the Church needed. All the reporters kept proclaiming how the Church is at a crossroads, and it is very true. I don’t think it was coincidence that Pope Francis is the first Latin American Pope and I hope the new Pope is able to guide The Church into the modern world and that he will be able to address issues, such as women leaders in the church, homosexuality, and  the decline of Catholics around the world. Being Pope is no “dream job.” Pope Francis, from this moment to probably the day he dies will be the spiritual leader for about 1.2 billion Catholics around the world. Everyday for the rest of his life, he will “learn the sorrows of the world”…he will not only have to have a “special depth of faith” that few men can handle, he will also have to govern and appoint necessary leaders to help guide and strengthen The Church. And the Catholic Church is not just “a” church, it is “the” Church which has been established in tradition going back centuries, is the beacon of faith for people from the Americas to Africa to Asia, it leads the rich and the poor, the young and the old. Tonight, regardless of the color of their skin or the language of their land, millions of Catholics will pray in solidarity for the new Pope, and I will be one of them.

NOTE TO READERS: I do NOT usually write religious based posts and will probably not write very many. While I always welcome any new followers, I wanted to put out this disclaimer for anyone who decides to follow this blog, based on this religious content…otherwise you will be a little “shocked” to read what email notifications you will be getting. 🙂

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Vice Presidential Debate: Foreign and Domestic Policy


 

FULL VIDEO for anyone who missed it:

 

Just my quick opinion…..I didn’t take notes tonight because I was too tired and I just wanted to sit and watch the VP Debate. I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the VP Debates and it was actually more interesting than the first Presidential Debate. Topics ranged from nuclear weapons and Syria to the economy to health care to abortion. I really like both VP Biden and Congressman Ryan. If the elections were just between these two men…it would be a tough choice. Both men were very effective and I think both men appealed to the Independent voters. VP Biden came on strong tonight!! He called Ryan out on not being specific, for not getting the facts right and I loved how he called Ryan out for personally sending him 2 letters asking for stimulus money. VP Biden also did a good job of talking to the audience at home. There were a few times where he looked directly at the camera and asked the public who did they trust and he asked seniors whether they were happy with their health care. I think this was  a great move and helps to include voters in the debate. I know some people think that Biden came off as too “fierce” or “condescending” but I disagree. I think Biden had to come on strong, especially after the show the President put on last week.

Congressman Ryan is a lot younger than VP Biden, and I think it showed tonight. Despite that, I think that Ryan was very respectful and did his best to get the conversation back to his strong points and he continued to hammer the idea that Romney would not raise taxes on the middle class and how Obamacare would affect senior citizens. I think he also made a good move when he told the personal story of Romney paying the tuition of 2 paralyzed boys that went to Romney’s church and how Romney gives more money to charity than the VP or himself combined. He tried to explain away the “47%” debacle that Romney caused, though that wasn’t as effective.

As a Catholic myself, I was anxious to hear how VP Biden and Ryan, both also Catholics, answered the question concerning how the Catholic Church has shaped their lives and their opinions on abortion. Congressman Ryan said that he believes that life begins at conception, a concept reiterated throughout every Catholic Church in the world, and abortion should only be allowed in the limited circumstances of rape, incest, and where the mother’s life is in danger. VP Biden said that he agrees with the Churches teachings and also believes that life begins at conception, but he refuses to impose his beliefs on others who may not feel the same way. While a lot of people feel that the Catholic Church is full of strictly conservative Republicans…let me assure you that it is not. Catholics are as diverse in political thinking as any other group would be and while some stand behind what Ryan said, I know just as many who stand behind what VP Biden said. I think these two answers reflected well on both men and the Catholic Church.

What are your thoughts on the VP debate??

 

NEXT DEBATE:

Tuesday
October 16, 2012

President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Topic: Town meeting format including foreign and domestic policy
Air Time: 9:00-10:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York (Tickets)
Sponsor: Commission on Presidential Debates
Participants: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney
Moderator: Candy Crowley (CNN Chief Political Correspondent)
 

The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which citizens will ask questions of the candidates on foreign and domestic issues. Candidates each will have two minutes to respond, and an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate a discussion. The town meeting participants will be undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization.