The Pope’s New Clothes: A Message from Rev. Jerry Campbell, Tamar Frankiel, Ph.D.and Imam Jihad Turk

As Jorge Bergoglio begins his new life as Pope Francis, we join in celebration with the Roman Catholic Church in the election of the first Latin American, first Jesuit pontiff. With the selection of the name Francis (in reference to St. Francis of Assisi) it appears Bergoglio seeks to ring the bells of St. Peter’s for global inclusion, care for the marginalized and — we sincerely hope — inter-religious cooperation.

This week, Pope Francis has acquired a new set of clothes. In accepting the papacy, he now is shrouded in the protection of the church’s political vestments.

As representatives of an interreligious university, we trust that Pope Francis will wisely recognize the transparency of his new clothes and hew to the naked simplicity of his namesake’s example. We hope he will dialogue with all who are committed to honesty, open inquiry, social equality, economic justice and understanding between the religions.

Jorge Bergoglio’s past has not been perfect, nor his public record spotless, for, after all, he is human. But for the new man he has become as Pope Francis — for his outlook, for his stamina, for his health — we pray. We join together with millions around the world to ask God to bless him and give him wisdom as he leads the Catholic Church into the possibilities of a better future.

Diabetes affects foreigners in Spain

The numbers of immigrants living with diabetes in Spain is estimated between 15-25 percent of immigrants, compared to just 12 percent among native Spaniards. “We think there are around 500,000 diabetic immigrants, diagnosed and not, most of whom are Latin American, Moroccan and Pakistani”, explains Josep Franch at the Raval Sud Drassanes medical clinic in Barcelona. Doctors believe the rates are connected to cultural food choices, and are making suggestions to patients; Indians and Pakistanis are being urged to lessen carbohydrate-rich breads, and patients of Moroccan backgrounds are encouraged to eat fewer honey-covered sweets. Besides changes in diet, Franch also notes that the concept of disease varies among cultures. If they aren’t in pain they don’t think they are unwell, but the consequences of diabetes on health occur in the mid- to long-term”, Franch notes.

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Europe considers blue card for immigrants

The EU unveiled a blue card plan on Tuesday, aimed to attract skilled, professional immigrants to member countries. Modeled somewhat after green cards in the United States, the blue card calls for the admission of 20 million Asian, African, and Latin American workers within the next twenty years. The immigrant-friendly proposal seeks to re-build Europe’s image as open to immigrants, their potential for economic and professional prosperity, while building up a base of diverse, highly skilled workers in member countries.