On the flight between Cuba and the USA one of the journalists asked Pope Francis if his politics were leaning to the left. Perhaps his heart for the poor and criticism of the ‘unfettered pursuit of money’ once referred to as the ‘dung of Satan’ may have contributed to this misunderstanding.
Cuba was an interesting backdrop for such an enquiry. Pope Francis’s fellow Argentinian, Che Guevara, who famously helped free Cuba from dictatorship and installed the current communist government, was also a man whose principal motivation was compassion for those who were being horribly oppressed and exploited. It is true that both hate the sins that the rich and powerful commit against the poor.
But then their paths separate. The communist ideology requires hatred of the sinner too in order to defeat him, and so turns in on itself and of necessity becomes worse than its adversary. (James 1:20’ because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires’) The Pope’s way of course is more hopeful of the change of heart of those who currently do evil and happy to leave the battle and timing in God’s hands whilst proclaiming the truth in love and candor.
Pope Francis seeks a revolution too, a change of heart, individually and collectively, a turning outward, first to God and then, as a product of that, to each other and especially those in need.
It’s interesting that the Cuban leader, Raul Castro, when he met the Pope prior to his visit to Cuba, said “I read all the speeches of the Pope, and if he continues this way, I will go back to praying and go back to the church, and I’m not joking,” Love conquers all!
(NB Che is an argentinian term meaning 'mate' or 'friend' )