«Ladies and Gentlemen»

  Le Capitole, Congrès des États-Unis

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Le 24 septembre, ce sera le tour de François, événement déjà qualifié d’historique puisque c’est la première fois qu’un successeur de Pierre y est invité à livrer un discours. Cette «première» s’inscrit dans la coutume d’inviter des chefs d’État étrangers à s’adresser au Congrès. François est de fait le chef du plus petit État du monde, le Vatican, et, dans son cas, son statut politique se double de celui de chef de l’Église catholique.

Le motif d’invitation évoqué par le président de la Chambre basse, John Boehner, «est que le premier pape de l’Amérique latine a enthousiasmé des millions d’Américains avec ses manières pastorales, et son charisme au service des plus pauvres». (1) Il semble qu’il n’y ait pas que le peuple qui soit enthousiaste. Devant la possibilité d’une trop grande affluence au Capitole de Washington, on a dû couper dans les invitations et les privilèges.(2)

Je me suis dit : mais qu’est-ce que François va bien pouvoir dire à ces Ladies and Gentlemen, tous titulaires d’un poste d’autorité au sein de l’appareil gouvernemental des États-Unis? Son encyclique Laudato si’, qui a été publiée APRÈS l’invitation, en a agacé plus d’un parmi eux.

J’ai aussi pensé aux neuf juges de la Cour suprême des États-Unis qui viennent, il y a quelques mois à peine, de rendre un jugement à 5 contre 4 légalisant le mariage de couples de même sexe, et au président Obama qui, sur son site web, a salué ce jugement de la Cour en peignant la Maison – dite Blanche – , aux couleurs de l’arc-en-ciel, symbole biblique de l’Alliance de Dieu avec l’humanité, devenu symbole des LGBT.

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On September 24th, it will be Francis’ turn to do it, a historical event since this is the first time that Peter’s successor is invited to the American Congress to deliver a speech. This “first” follows the tradition of inviting heads of foreign states to address the Congress. Francis will address the Congress with a double political status: head of the smallest country in the world, the Vatican, and head of the Catholic Church.

Francis is actually the head of the smallest State of the world, Vatican, and, in his case, his political status is coupled with that of the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

The reason given behind the invitation by the House Speaker, John Boehner, is that “Pope Francis has inspired millions of Americans with his pastoral manner and servant leadership, challenging all people to lead lives of mercy, forgiveness, solidarity, and humble service.“ (1)  It seems that it is not only these people that are enthusiastic as invitations and privileges were reduced in order to avoid overcrowding the Capitol. (2)

I thought to myself: what is Francis going to say to these Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congress, all holders of a position of authority in the United States Government? His encyclical Laudato si’, published after the invitation, bothered more than one of them.

I also thought about the nine judges of the United States Supreme Court who rendered a judgment, a couple of months ago, 5 against 4, legalizing marriage between partners of the same sex, and president Obama who saluted this judgment on Twitter by painting the White House icon with rainbow colors, the biblical symbol of God’s covenant with humanity turning into the LGBT symbol.

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  ....26 juin 2015 : Maison blanche aux couleurs de l'arc-en-ciel ..  White house decorated with the colours of the rainbow. ....

....26 juin 2015 : Maison blanche aux couleurs de l'arc-en-ciel ..White house decorated with the colours of the rainbow. ....

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François va-t-il faire la leçon à cette prestigieuse assemblée? S’il devait le faire – quelqu’un a dit, je ne sais plus trop qui, que la plus grande charité que l’on puisse faire à quelqu’un était de lui dire la vérité – il serait toutefois surprenant que François le fasse avec indélicatesse. Lorsqu’on est invité chez quelqu’un, et que l’on accepte son invitation, une certaine cordialité est de mise, de part et d’autre d’ailleurs. À moins, bien sûr, que la nécessité des temps et de la situation exige une interpellation plus directe, sans «dorer la pilule».

En tout cas, l’occasion de témoigner est belle sinon unique. Quels seront les points saillants du message de François? Dans l’attente, j’ai décidé de me faire speech writer pour tenter de découvrir le contenu éventuel de ce discours historique. Vous voulez spéculer avec moi? Je vous invite à lire mon prochain billet intitulé: «Mais qu’est-ce que François va bien pouvoir dire?». Vous avez aussi une piste, écrivez-moi!

L’idée derrière cet exercice? Simple: nous motiver à prier davantage Joseph dans IMPACT J, pour François et tous les gouvernants qui seront présents en cette occasion. «We're certainly look forward to receiving his message» (John Boehner). Ce message aura, sans aucun doute, des répercussions aux quatre coins de la planète.

Francine Dupras

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Will Francis lecture this prestigious Assembly? If he were to do it – someone once said, I forget who it was, that the best thing you can do for someone is to tell him or her the truth – it would be surprising that Francis would do it indelicately. When someone invites you, and you accept their invitation, a certain cordiality is required, from both parties. Unless, of course, the time and situation call for a more vigorous appeal, without sugarcoating the message.

Nevertheless, this is a unique and precious opportunity to testify. What will be the highlights of Francis’ message? In anticipation, I decided to make myself “speech writer” to try to discover the eventual contents of this historical address. You wish to speculate with me? I invite you to read my next post tomorrow “What could Francis possibly say?” You also have an idea, write to me!

The idea behind this exercise? It’s quite simple: to motivate us to pray to Joseph through IMPACT J, for Francis and all the leaders who will be present in this occasion. “We're certainly looking forward to receiving his message”(John Boehner). Without a doubt, this message will have repercussions all around the world.

Francine Dupras

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(1) «There's a tremendous amount of interest in the Pope's visit and we are working to ensure as many people as possible can attend. We took this step in order to make sure that attendance at the joint meeting does not exceed the capacity of the chamber to hold a safe and dignified event», Emily Schillinger told CNN in a written statement.
Only current members of Congress, delegates, the President and vice president, Supreme Court justices, Cabinet heads, congressional officials, officers of the House and those designated by Boehner personally can watch the speech inside the chamber or be allowed in rooms around the House floor.

Références: 

1. Boehner invites Pope Francis to address Congress

2. John Boehner to limit access to Pope Francis' speech

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(1) "There's a tremendous amount of interest in the Pope's visit and we are working to ensure as many people as possible can attend. We took this step in order to make sure that attendance at the joint meeting does not exceed the capacity of the chamber to hold a safe and dignified event," Emily Schillinger told CNN in a written statement.
Only current members of Congress, delegates, the President and vice president, Supreme Court justices, Cabinet heads, congressional officials, officers of the House and those designated by Boehner personally can watch the speech inside the chamber or be allowed in rooms around the House floor.

Sources:

1. Boehner invites Pope Francis to address Congress

2. John Boehner to limit access to Pope Francis' speech

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