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Pope Francis, prisoner of the Vatican, may be writing a new encyclical. Here's what it could be about...

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Those in power like to talk about individual responsibility, but what about their responsibility to the individual?

Last March, Pope Francis stood alone in the rain and delivered a televised prayer calling for solidarity and justice in the face of COVID. Today, the Holy Father, whose greatest joy seems to be mingling with the people, remains isolated in the Vatican. However, he may be using that time to write a new encyclical.

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By Marshall Connolly (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/31/2020 (4 months ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Pope Francis, Vatican, prisoner

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Through the long spring and into the late, hazy summer Pope Francis has remained sequestered in the Vatican, interacting with a trusted few people in person, and all others remotely, or at a safe social distance. 

Pope Francis is an important man. He is by far the world's most preeminent religious figure, and a voice for morality in the world. He is the leader for more than one billion Catholics around the world. The Church he leads has members in every nation of the world, even North Korea. 

As such an important figure, Pope Francis is subject to intense protection. It's not just police and security forces like the Papal Guard. It's also physical distance and barriers which separate the Holy Father from infected persons who could give him a case of COVID. Because of this, little is known about what he is doing behind the city walls. 

Undoubtedly, this is a difficult time for Pope Francis whose greatest joy has always been to mingle with the people, blessing them, chatting, and taking selfies with adoring teenagers. The Pope is unable to travel abroad, and is relying on phone calls and remote meetings, much the way the rest of us are forced to cope using platforms like Zoom. 

Unfortunately, Italy's coronavirus numbers are rising once again, a sad result of the loosening of restrictions, the infectious nature of the disease, and the fact it can reinfect people over and over. Until a vaccine is developed, Pope Francis, like many of us, will remain in isolation. 

But now we come to the question of what Pope Francis is doing with his time. A recent AP article on this matter referred to the weakness of the global economy and its inability to serve the needs of people, especially the vulnerable. We are all members of a great society, and we are all citizens of one nation or another. Great emphasis is placed on the individual's responsibility to society, but little attention is paid to society's obligation toward the individual. While the individual pays taxes and his labor is harvested by those who own the workplace and the resources, there is little scrutiny placed on the responsibility of the boss to the worker. Without the worker, the employer has nobody to perform the labor he requires to generate income. Without the taxpayer, the government does not have the revenue to finance itself. Sure, people must be responsible for themselves, but society, from bosses to government leaders, have an equal, balancing burden to care for those who support them with labor and taxes. 

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COVID has exposed how little responsibility employers and the world's governments show towards the worker and the taxpayer. And how much less they seem to care for those who may be out of work, the vulnerable and the disenfranchised. 

Confined to the Vatican Pope Francis, a prisoner of circumstances, is rumored to be using the time to pen a new encyclical. Nobody is leaking the details of the encyclical, and the topic is still a matter of speculation. But given Pope Francis' nature, the odds are great that this is the topic he may be working on while imprisoned by COVID behind the protective barriers of Vatican City.

There is no timeline for the encyclical yet. 

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