Emil Guillermo: Pope gets long :15 second applause in New York when he thanks religious women, the sisters and mothers….


But imagine what would happen if he really went radical and suggested that the women he thanked could be seen as equals to ordained priests?

Maybe he’s saving that for his second trip to America.



I’m  still getting over the Pope’s Congressional speech and his reference to Dorothy Day of the Catholic worker movement, and Thomas Merton.

It indicates he’s serious about  social justice by holding up Day as an example. And that he’s also hoping for more the openness and dialogue by pointing to Merton.

And delivering it all is the Pope in his soft spoken voice,  alluring to all. There’s no “capitalism is the dung of the devil” rhetoric like he used in South America. But the message in the U.S. is both critical and loving at the same time.

Like a good, grandfatherly pastor. We sit back and listen with respect.  And take it all to heart. And maybe going forward, we act.



Emil Guillermo: Pope’s-eye-view of America: “I too am a son of this great continent…” See what else Congress should agree on.

The pope’s view of America after speaking to Congress.
While he spoke specifically on topics like economic inequality, the environment, prison reform, and the military, there was something more general that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, of whatever faith, should be able to agree on.
Pope Francis:  “You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you…”
“Today I would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the United States. Here, together with their representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and – one step at a time – to build a better life for their families. These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society. They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need.”
See my story on NBC News.com and how it impacted a freshman legislator.

Emil Guillermo: Pope’s historical address to Congress? Not “State of the Union,” I call it a “State of the Soul” address; Four icons, and a big shout out for climate change activists.


Moved by the pope as I live tweeted.

Francis  mentioned four American icons: Lincoln, MLK, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.

Congress cheered the first two–but seemed in the dark about the two Catholics mentioned.  Day was a legendary journalist and activist for the poor. A lay person who is now being considered for sainthood, Day fought for social justice issues in a completely self-less way.  In many ways, Francis in his ways, is much like Day. Merton  was a Trappist monk who encouraged openness, dialogue. And that was the hopeful idea of Francis to Congress–that there is a way out of the divisive, polarizing politics of the day, that could lead us to a consensus for the common good.

Rep. Ted Lieu of California described the  room as electric when the pope was introduced. Lieu, a climate change activist, was encouraged by the support the pope’s urging that something must be done to protect the earth, “our common home.”

Read my story on NBC News.com

Emil Guillermo: Pope Francis will see how Asian American his U.S. flock has become

Alighting from his papel plane, Pope Francis gets a little wind in his face. But it shouldn’t stop him from seeing just how Asian American his U.S. flock has become.
Filipinos at 2.2 million are the largest Asian American group of U.S. Catholics. But the smaller groups like the Burmese Americans, a growing refugee community are growing throughout the U.S.
The pope was smiling when he saw the president at Andrews Air Force Base. No doubt the Iran deal that the pope helped broker will come up.  But as the pope mixes with the politicos, I think his June encyclical on global warming and the call for a new politics that protects what he calls “our common home,”  will make it into his comments before Congress and the U.N.
As for tonight, he gets to rest. Maybe he’ll watch the season 2 premier of “Fresh Off the Boat”?

Emil Guillermo's commentary on race, politics, diversity…and everything else.

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