ope Francis arrived in Washington today, snarling traffic and drawing some 300,000 people into the city. I’m excited that the Pope, who has called out capitalism for its indifference to the poor, and who has reached out to gay Catholics, has come to the United States. But I’m even more excited about his follow-on trip to Philadelphia, where he’s going to meet with prisoners in Philadelphia’s Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility.
It’s one thing for Barack Obama to visit a prison and talk about wanting to commute the draconian sentences of federal prisoners with drug convictions (which he has not yet done, incidentally). It’s an entirely different thing for the leader of the world’s one billion Catholics to get a first-hand look at how our country’s prisons violate the civil and human rights of their prisoners. The only shame is that His Holiness won’t see one of America’s private prisons.