Pope Francis is making waves among Catholic churchgoers with his recent politically charged comments pertaining to taxes and refugees. The pontiff’s latest controversial remarks come directly in advance of his first trip to the United States, so they are likely to stir up a commotion. While the effects of his newly expounded philosophy are still yet to be seen, it is undeniable that there will be a serious impact among Catholics and religious facilities in general.
A lot of parishes have recently been much emptier than they used to be. Emptier than they’ve ever been. The reality of decreasing memberships is inescapable for the Catholic church, and to compensate for lost revenue, many churches have started operating like hotels asking for payment in exchange for refuge, thus transforming the establishment into a business. Thus according to the new Pope: “if that is what you want to do, then pay taxes! … If it is functioning as a hotel, then it should pay taxes just like its neighbor. Otherwise it is not fair business.”
He declared that when a church does not house refugees, it fails to live up to its holy purpose and should be stripped of any tax-exempt status. Churches are a place of sanctuary and prayer and sympathy. There is no room in Pope Frances Catholic kingdom for any church that charges people for these services.
The Pope timed the difficult discussion to coincide with his first visit to American since his enpopeing (thats what they call a Pope’s coronation right?). He is clearly hoping that his influence will impart some lasting changes in the United States, especially among our disconnected and disenfranchised leaders.
To emphasize the importance of taking in displaced Middle Eastern civilians, the Vatican officially began sheltering stranded Syrians. Francis announced that his guests will stay “as long as the Lord wants.” In rebuking others that haven’t followed suit, Pope Francis remarked, “If a church, a parish, a diocese, or an institute lives closed in on itself, it grows ill and we are left with a scrawny Church, with strict rules, no creativity.”
As Europe faces a tragic refugee crisis, the Pope is doing what he can to make sure everyone is on the same page: the crisis will be dealt with. Because of his declaration, every Christian house of worship must open its doors wide for sanctuary to Syrian refugees. Good on you, Pope Francis.