Growing and strengthening west Michigan's middle class
GRAND RAPIDS September 14, 2015– “Let us together say from the heart: no family without lodging, no rural worker without land, no laborer without rights, no people without sovereignty, no individual without dignity, no child without childhood, no young person without a future, no elderly person without a venerable old age.” -Pope Francis, in a speech at the World Meeting of Popular Movements, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on July 9, 2015
Since becoming Pope Francis back in March 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been shaking up the Catholic church and the world with his progressive and pro-worker statements. At the September meeting of the Kent-Ionia Labor Council Women’s Caucus (details below), we’ll be discussing the pope’s impact on the world as well as his upcoming visit to the United States.
In years past, with social issues (abortion, homosexuality) often dominating the conversation coming out of the Vatican, America’s right-wing evangelicals– and with them, Republican politicians– have unofficially partnered their political message with the Catholic Church’s. But with Pope Francis, social issues have more-often taken a backseat to economic ones– workers rights, child labor, reigning in capitalistic greed, climate change and eradicating poverty.
With this shift in papal messaging comes an uncomfortable shift from conservatives, who don’t want to be seen attacking the most powerful Christian leader on earth (Rush Limbaugh notwithstanding), but also don’t like being confronted with the fact that their economic policies might not actually line up with what’s in the Bible.
When Pope Francis makes his first papal visit to the United States later this month, he will address a Republican-controlled Congress than may not want to actually hear what he has to say, and there are surely more than a few elected leaders who are a bit nervous about his message to them. While in the U.S., the pope will also be addressing the U.N., conducting a number of masses in both Washington DC and Philadelphia, meeting with President Obama at the White House, and addressing the U.S. bishops.
In short, Pope Francis’ first visit to the United States has the potential to be a transformational moment for Catholics and all Americans. His words and deeds have inspired people across race, class and religion.
On Tuesday, September 15, the Kent-Ionia Labor Council Women’s Caucus will be discussing the pope’s upcoming visit, and what it could mean for the labor movement in the U.S. We’ll also be taking a look back at the Catholic Church’s relationship with organized labor over the past 100 or so years.
Below is the tentative agenda for the KICLC Women’s Caucus September meeting:
WHAT: KICLC Women’s Caucus, September meeting
WHEN: Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 5:30pm
WHERE: Kent-Ionia Labor Center, 918 Benjamin NE in Grand Rapids (MAP)
INFO: Email info@KICLC.org.