Pope Francis is fresh from turning down an invitation from Noah‘s marketing department to meet with the film’s star, Russell Crowe, in an effort to boost pre-release interest among Catholics (I suspect, though we aren’t usually the target audience for “Biblical” films, or for that matter, “Christian Rock” which can only be called “Rock” in the loosest sense of the term and if you consider Nickleback to be a legitimate inspiration for any musical movement).
Anyway, Pope Francis has already turned down one remarkable offer to be used as a pawn in a complex marketing strategy, so it only makes sense that the most attention whorish body in America outside of Hollywood would also make overtures for his attention. Yes, America, Congress has invited Pope Francis to speak, clearly believing they will not all shrivel and die in his presence as their demons leave them to pursue other activities, like lobbying.
Boehner, a Catholic himself, sent a letter to the Vatican requesting that the pope visit the Capitol.
“The Holy Father’s pastoral message challenges people of all faiths, ideologies and political parties,” Boehner wrote. “His address as a visiting head of state before a joint meeting of the House and Senate would honor our nation in keeping with the best traditions of our democratic institutions. It would also offer an excellent opportunity for the American people as well as the nations of the world to hear his message in full.”
Pope Francis has been much-discussed in political circles for his comments that capitalism and the wealthy have left behind the poor. Boehner referred to those comments in his statement, making the case for why the pope should see fit to address Congress by noting that Americans value the pope’s message of human dignity, freedom and social justice.
“Many in the United States believe these principles are undermined by ‘crony capitalism’ and the ongoing centralization of political power in the institutions of our federal government, which threaten to disrupt the delicate balance between the twin virtues of subsidiarity and solidarity. They have embraced Pope Francis’ reminder that we cannot meet our responsibility to the poor with a welfare mentality based on business calculations. We can meet it only with personal charity on the one hand and sound, inclusive policies on the other,” Boehner said in the statement.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, also a Catholic, said in a statement that she was pleased with Boehner’s invitation.
The Vatican has not dismissed the invitation out of hand, possibly because they’re still wondering why it came in the first place.