I wrote the following essay some weeks ago, but never found time to edit and post it. Since today is the feast of the Protomartyrs of the Franciscan Order, St. Berard and Companions, I thought it would be an auspicious time to bring this to light.
While I realize the historical figure of St. Francis lends itself to romanticizing and mythologizing because of the singularly extraordinary nature of his person, as a Franciscan it irritates me to see his life used as a political tool. Paul Moses on the CNN Opinion website, does precisely this as he attempts to have St. Francis sucked into vortex of Obama-mania. In addition to being the author of the CNN article entitled “Is Religion about War—or Peace?” Mr. Moses is the author of a new book called The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi’s Mission of Peace. Mr. Moses is at pains to state that he does not “mean to liken Obama to Francis,” but, goes on to do precisely that and, in the process of expressing his admiration for Mr. Obama, he historically misrepresents the Seraphic Saint. Continue reading