Does Pope Francis have a position on the Dakota Access Pipeline?
That’s one question he hasn’t been asked, and he might demur if pressed on such a specific issue. But in his landmark encyclical on the environment published last year, and in other statements, Francis has strongly supported arguments of the Native American-led resistance movement on three core issues: indigenous rights, water rights and protection of creation.
I had been anticipating Pope Francis’ speech to a joint session of Congress ever since I learned it was planned. From the beginning of his papacy, Pope Francis has established himself as a fearless advocate for the least, and an unapologetic prophet to both the church and the nations. A leader who shunned the glitter of the Apostolic Palace for the simplicity of a small guesthouse. A people’s pope who rebuked the rich and ate with the poor, and scolded the extravagance of the industrialized world as he drove through it in a fuel-efficient Fiat.
What words would this leader have for the Congress of the most wealthy, militarily powerful, commercially industrialized, colonial nation in the history of the world? The possibilities seemed endless.