(COMMON DREAMS)Â Phyllis Bennis,Â Manuel PÃ©rez RochaÂ âÂ Pope Francisâ address to Congress was almost certainly not what John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and other congressional leaders had in mind when they invited the pope to speak.
It probably wasnât what they were all thinking about during the last standing ovations. But here was Pope Francis, revered as the Peopleâs Pope, calling out war profiteers and demanding an end to the arms trade. Just as simple and as powerful as that.
It came near the end ofÂ Â â after his calls to protect the rights of immigrants and refugees, end the death penalty, preserve the planet from the ravages of climate change, and defend the poor and dispossessed.
âBeing at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world,â the pope said. Then he asked the critical question: âWhy are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?â
He answered it himself: âSadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.â
Stop the arms trade. What a simple, clear call.