The pope’s shameless legions


Being a person who believes in no religion but has been taught to respect those who do and hoping they refrain from trying to convert or save me, I admit to liking Pope Francis very much as a person and inspirational leader and hope he can convert some of the scowling dumb-asses in this country to think about climate change and individual rights and the plight of immigrants, in whose shoes they refuse to place themselves in fear they might just start understanding their suffering and come to their aid, which would certainly infuriate their rancorous leaders demonizing them as criminals, terrorists and parasites sucking our system dry.

Amidst the pomp and pageantry of the pope’s invocations, the business moguls and politicians and glitterati of America fawn over and grovel before him in hushed tones like chastened sinners, temporarily humbled, and forgiven. Oh how magnificent they are in their new-found benevolence and humility. How wonderful it must feel; to be rich and famous and powerful and take time out from shitting on the little guy and bow before the pope and utter kind things about him when all the while you can’t wait for him to get his pious ass back to some place like the slums of Rio to pass his benedictions and blessings on to those poor saps who believe in his socialist bullshit and leave us to our merciless onslaught on democracy while we praise it as the savior of civilization.

The business moguls and politicians and glitterati of America fawn over and grovel before him in hushed tones like chastened sinners, temporarily humbled, and forgiven. Oh how magnificent they are in their new-found benevolence and humility.

When the pope critiques our capitalist system, he gets to listen to our conservative politicians and media pundits and heavyweight Catholics—the big time Catholics who for years ignored and denied the hideous rape of their children by their priests—explain how they “appreciate the pope’s deeply felt compassion and humility but he doesn’t understand our democracy and capitalistic system of government and how well it works for ALL Americans.”

Oh, he understands all right. He doesn’t see us as we see ourselves, does he, so inebriated are we with our greatness, our wealth, our reality shows of rich women getting drunk and squabbling over nonsense, our crazed hero-worship of athletic heroes in violent sports in over-priced venues, our descent into drugs of every kind at every level of society, our white police shooting black men down in the streets, our obscene narcissism in glorying in the trappings of material wealth, our hordes of mindless obese gobblers of artificial food, our defense of individual arsenals to supposedly fight our own feared government but that lead to monthly slaughters of innocent people, our enormous military power hogging money that could be spent on the needy as our homelessness spirals out of control, our meddling in countries where we do not belong with the propagandistic excuse it makes us safer and insures our national security, our massive and paranoid intelligence institutions that spy on us and warn us after starting these horribly tragic wars that “we know best, and you don’t, so trust us.”

This pope probably watches American television, which is everywhere, and observed a beaten down John Boehner, a good Catholic and former altar boy and basically a good guy, tormented by the hard-hearted zealots in his House of Representatives who want to cut taxes and eliminate regulations for the rich corporations and take away what’s left from the poor so as to “balance the budget and get the economy back on track.” Yeh, sure.

There is suspicion Boehner possibly, upon the visit of his pontiff, felt profound pangs of guilt and shame in meeting Francis while knowing he had been going along for four years with a bunch of bloodless pricks with no other interest but shafting the poor. So he quit, weeping like a kid who lost a Little League game.

This pope, if he can keep from gagging, probably turns on Fox News and watches the cruel expressions and listens to the cruel words of people like Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity and the rest of the rabble denouncing our black president as a Kenyan, a Muslim, a non-American, and, cloaked in the right language, “a nigger with the gall to think he can govern us old white fogies when the country belongs to us. The idea of this black bastard and his black wife and black children actually greeting the pope!”

Temporarily, the Marco Rubio’s and Ted Cruz’s and Chris Christie’s and Carly Fiorina’s and Rick Santorum’s take time out from their vicious attacks on any policies to help the needy to appear both proud and beneficent as they stand blessed by their beloved pope, so ensconced are they in papal purity. Meanwhile, their bankrollers, the Koch brothers and the Texas billionaires and the rest of that scabrous lot continue their assault on a country they’re trying to buy and wait patiently for this altruistic and obviously naïve pope Francis to get the fuck out of this country so they can take it over.

Trump, smartly staying out of this ghastly spectacle, bides his time, knowing that money talks and bullshit walks. He likes the pope, of course, might even consider him a good friend some day, wink, wink, somebody who might need a big fat donation down the line, ey? Get rid of that tin-can Fiat and step into my private plane, Frank…. §

Dell Franklin writes from his home in Cayucos, Calif., where he lives with his dog Wilbur. His work can also be read online at



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