Editorial: The cutout comes to Congress

In the spring of 2013, a freshman named Katie Farinacci signed up for one of those “Pope Watch” subscription services that promised to text her when the new pontiff was elected by the Cardinals in conclave.

Half an hour later, she received a text:

“WHITE SMOKE!”

Within five minutes, the whole of social media blew up as it was announced that Jorge Mario Bergoglio would become Pope Francis, the first Jesuit leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Rising from the resignation of his predecessor, Benedict XVI, His Holiness has changed the conception of what it means to be Catholic. Not only has his humility made him distinct through the rejection of the traditional papal car to staying in the St. Martha Guesthouse, but he has also a number of social justice issues, including the death penalty, homelessness, conservation, and immigration. The last two of these have become central on the Jesuit and Catholic world stages with environmentalism being a large focus within Laudatio Si’, the most recent papal encyclical, and immigration having been the central theme of the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice held each year in Washington, D.C., to which Campus Ministry sends a delegation of students. This paper was thrilled to see the ways in which Canisius’ Jesuit mission has been both affirmed and called to be more by Pope Francis. Plus, after seeing that cutout all over campus (ALL OVER CAMPUS), it was nice to have a three-dimensional version.

While this paper is all for the first amendment (in case you were unclear on that point) and despite the separation of Church and State, it still supports Papa Francesco’s visit to Congress this afternoon and his Catholic-based appeals for justice. While obviously grounded in his faith, the pontiff was very politically articulate in outlining his desires for Congress and this country. Much of what he said will be reinforced by Canisius students as they travel to Washington in November and as they lobby local legislators here in Buffalo as well. Overall, we at our fair Jesuit institution obviously see ourselves in solidarity of his summarizing message: justice. He says, “We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.”

In his convocation, President Hurley asked, “What would it look like if Canisius made a stand for justice?” We certainly have in the past. Campus Ministry sends students every year around the world for international service trips. The Undergraduate Student Association’s J.U.S.T.I.C.E. Committee perseveres to promote awareness of social issues on campus. Yet, what more can we do? What does it mean to answer this challenge? It means, as Dr. Mangione quoted on Twitter (we saw and applauded), “To those who have much…comes the great responsibility to help others.” Canisius has always existed upon the principle of living as men and women for and with others, and so now it has been echoed by Pope Francis, and though you may be neither Catholic nor religious, this paper believes that you can still find good in that statement. You can still find a common decency to be spread around campus and Buffalo, and you can see in those that have walked these halls before us.

Safe travels and good luck to the group of students going to Philadelphia to see His Holiness. It’s nice to finally see students going to him instead of his cutout appearing randomly to us around campus.

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