It is not easy to obtain a meeting with the Pope, but U2’s front man was somehow able to pull it off.
Pope Francis is the current leader of the Catholic Church. But he is also a head of state, with all of the power, influence, and interconnection with governments across the globe that goes along with being the Bishop of Rome.
At this critical time when Pope Francis is under unprecedented scrutiny, due to unanswered allegations that he knowingly protected a sexually abusive cardinal and additionally had a role in defending a clerical sex offender in Argentina, one might assume that the Pope’s schedule was being highly scrutinized by Vatican officials. Assumptions, though, often lead to mistaken conclusions, which may well be the case in this instance.
Puzzlingly, Paul David Hewson, a.k.a. Bono, lead singer of the rock group U2, was granted a meeting with the pontiff, which reportedly lasted for at least 30 minutes. At the meeting, which took place at the Casa Santa Marta hotel where Pope Francis maintains his residence, the rock singer and the Holy Father are said to have discussed topics ranging from capitalism and the environment to the clerical sex abuse scandal.
Well known as an adherent to the Christian faith, Bono is the son of a Protestant father and Catholic mother. He grew up in Ireland, a place where in the not so distant past Protestants and Catholics took up arms against one another; this was happening at the same time that the rock singer was coming of age.
Bono has actually discussed his belief in Jesus in a number of media interviews over the years. He was, however, highly criticized in Spring of 2018 by Christians of all stripes.
It was during this time period that Bono and his U2 band mates were publicly seeking to bring about the repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, an action that would ultimately lead to abortion-on-demand becoming the law of the land in the Emerald Isle.
U2 upset a sizable portion of its fan base as well as millions of pro-life adherents around the world on May 1, 2018, when it tweeted a heart-shaped graphic that read “Repeal the 8th.” The tweet essentially urged Twitter followers and fans to cast a vote for abortion in the Irish referendum. The Catholic Church was firmly opposed to the country’s proposed legalization of the life-ending procedure.
It seemed to many at the time that Bono had set aside his Christian beliefs and abandoned the vulnerable pre-born. On May 25, 2018, after all advocates, including Bono and his band, had completed their roles, the Irish people voted to repeal the constitutional amendment that had previously secured for pre-born babies the fundamental right to life.
This is why, for so many people, the sight of a sunglass-wearing rock star briefing reporters following a papal meeting was so surreal.
After his audience with the Pope, Bono addressed the Vatican press corps. Not mentioning whether his role in promoting the legalization of abortion in Ireland had been discussed, he noted that he had spoken with the pontiff about capitalism as well as about other issues in which the two shared a common interest.
Bono indicated to journalists that he and the Pope had discussed sustainable development, climate change, and the need for an equal distribution of the Earth’s resources.
“We have to re-think the wild beast that is capitalism,” the multimillionaire explained. “Although it is not immoral, it is amoral and it requires our instruction and he [Pope Francis] is very keen on that.”
Bono then revealed that a topic the two had discussed involved one about which the Pope has chosen to remain silent, i.e., the recent revelations regarding a multitude of sexual abuse allegations against the clergy of the Catholic Church.
Regarding the sex abuse scandal, Bono said, “I explained how it looks to some people like the abusers are being more protected than the victims, and you could see the pain in his face,” the U2 lead singer said, adding, “I thought he was sincere.”
In 2018 new allegations surfaced against the Catholic Church, which indicated that major church figures had protected priests who were accused of sexually abusing children, and Pope Francis himself was brought directly into the scandal.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who previously served as the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States, accused the current pope of having knowledge of the serious accusations against former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was accused of taking sexual advantage of young seminarians.
Archbishop Viganò asserts that Pope Francis “knew from at least June 23, 2013, that Cardinal McCarrick was a serial predator.” He further asserts that instead of the Pope holding Cardinal McCarrick accountable, he shielded him and made him a trusted counselor.
Pope Francis has not yet publicly responded to the allegations. In August 2018, when the Pope was asked about the subject by reporters, he replied, “I will say sincerely that I must say this, to you and all of you who are interested: Read the document carefully and judge it for yourselves.”
“When a little time has passed and you have the conclusions, perhaps I will talk,” the Pope added.
The issues discussed by Pope Francis and Bono have worldwide political, economic, and ethical implications.
It is odd, to say the least, that Pope Francis’s communications on such serious matters would have come to the international public square via a publicist in celebrity clothing.