September 20, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio is not the only Republican who should be heeding this advice from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Here's how Rubio responded when asked about Pope Francis coming to visit the United States this week and what he hoped to hear from him by ABC's George Stephanopoulos:

RUBIO: Well, I'm a Roman Catholic. For me, the pope is the successor of Peter he's the spiritual head of the church, who has authority to speak on matters, doctrinal matters and a -- and theological matters. And I follow him 100 percent on those issues, otherwise I wouldn't be a Roman Catholic. And so I believe that deeply.

The pope, as an individual, an important figure in the world, also has political opinions. And those, of course, we are free to disagree with. He obviously opines about this views of the church's role or the -- what we should be doing with the climate or things of this nature, on the economics.

Those are issues that -- that the church talks about as regards to their social teachings, or their j sorry, the -- the way you balance government with society.

On the social teachings, essential issues, like the sanctity of life and things of this nature, those go deep to the theology of this -- of the faith. And I do believe -- those are binding and I believe strongly in them.

On the economic issues, the geopolitical issues, the pope is just trying to bring people together. That's his role as a spiritual leader. And I respect that very much.

I have a job as a United States senator to act in the best interests of the United States and of our people. And from time to time, they -- that may lead to different opinions about different things.

But I have no problem with the pope and I wish he would meet with dissidents in Cuba when he's there this week, but I would reserve judgment to see what he says when given the chance to address the public there.

My hope is that he will discuss human rights and freedoms.

Yes of course, only those "social issues" that he agrees with are "binding." Never mind all of the rest of the stuff the Pope says.

Here's de Blasio's response to Rubio later on during the show.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you say this trip is a tremendous moment for New York.

What are you most excited about?

And I wanted you to respond. You heard Senator Rubio earlier in the program...


STEPHANOPOULOS: -- talking about the pope's trip, making a distinction between the pope's teaching on social issues and his teachings on economic issues.

DE BLASIO: I would strongly urge Senator Rubio to go back and reread "The Sermon on the Mount." Clearly, the core of Catholic teachings and Christian teachings talks about the economic realities that people face, and has for thousands of years.

So I was very surprised to hear them make that separation.

Let me give you two sentences from His Holiness, talking about trickle-down economics he says, "This theory, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and the sacrolyzed (ph) workings of the prevailing economic system, meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting."

That's Pope Francis talking about something that's been at the core of Catholic teachings for 2,000 years. I'm surprised Mr. Rubio doesn't understand that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But what do you say to those conservatives about this, who says this is not the pope's area of expertise?

DE BLASIO: I think the church has always devoted itself to talking about fairness in every sense, including economic fairness. I think that's one of the foundational concepts of the religion. And His Holiness has captured the imagination of the entire world, Catholic believers and non-believers and people of all faiths, because he's talking about what a moral structure looks like that actually is inclusive.

That's the power of this pope. Yes, he is an incredibly compelling personality and communicator. But it's his ideas that are actually calling people to a different kind of world order.

And I think, when he comes here to a country he's never been to before and talks before the United States Congress, I think it's going to be one of those moments we look back on and say this was a moment where American society and politics are to change.

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