It's interesting how we want to go back 35 years and judge church leaders and scrutinize their behaviors. The reputation of church leaders today is often determined by how Christian, how righteous and how virtuous their actions were so many years ago. And we use today's standards, with the 20-20 vision of hindsight, to judge yesterday's behaviors.
Such is the case with Pope Francis, who has been critized today for not doing enough to stop the torture and stop the "dirty war" in Aregntina during the 1970s. Fortunately, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980 for his efforts to stop this war, came to the Pope's defense this week. Adolfo has credibilty because he was one of those who was tortured in the 1970s for his efforts to stop the war.
I've been wondering how we as Christians will hold up to scrutiny 35 years from now. What are we doing today that might be judged by future generations? What has our nation done in our lifetime, or what is it doing today, that might beg the question: What did Christians do to stop this?
Did we as Christians do everything in our power to stop the wars waged by our nation? What are we doing now? What are we doing to stop the torture carried out in our name by our nation? Do we excuse our nation's torture as "fighting terrorism" (as many did in Argentina during their dirty war)?
How much easier it is for us to look at what Pope Francis could have done to stop war and torture 35 years ago than to ask what are we doing today. It's much harder to use all the power that we have, especially those of us in the USA, and use our influence to build peace and protect human rights.
In the Final Judgment (Matt 25:31-46), we will all be judged based on the works of mercy. From what I can see, Pope Francis is kind, compassionate and merciful. He has little to worry about on that Day. What about the rest of us?