I remember that British politician who stepped down from Parliament after an Ignatian retreat. Did John Boehner have a similar moment? Pope Francis did speak of the fractiousness of politics yesterday. Mr Boehner had a good enough seat to look over the Holy Father’s shoulder to read his notes. He also had a private audience. Seems Pope Francis is some spiritual director. The public words:
The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within.
And citing Evangelii Gaudium 222-223, this was later:
A good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism. A good political leader always opts to initiate processes rather than possessing spaces.
Who knows what inspired the Speaker to announce a resignation at the end of next month? If he were my friend, that would be a fascinating discussion to have over a beer or a coffee. I researched that Mr Boehner was college-educated at Xavier University in Cincinnati. That suggests that at the minimum, a seed of discernment was planted from his young adult days.
Other than a few exceptions which you can guess, my political leanings are pretty much with the Democratic party. But Mr. Boehner appeared to be someone who was willing to work across the isle and never made the perfect the enemy of good. He is apparently a devout Catholic, he just met the Pope and he resigned from a very stressful job, so all in all a good day.