Roger’s Take on Religion: An Inclusive Perspective

“Is it right to give alms to people who ask for help on the street?” Pope Francis was asked.

“Help is always right,” answered the Pope.

Not so fast, responds U.S. Bishop Thomas Tobin in a rebuke to the Pope. “Throwing loose change at a panhandler is demeaning to that person’s dignity.”

Here’s My Take: The beggar standing at the Broadway Bridge does not seem intimidated by the “No Trespassing” signs newly stenciled on the bridge walls. I stop and give him two dollars.

“God bless you,” he says, not once but twice as he rushes off. And then, halfway across the street he turns and says “Happy Easter!”

Driving on, I ponder which of our city fathers came up with the idea of “No Trespassing” signs to discourage these saints of the intersection from so freely giving their blessings in God’s name.

Mayor Pontius Pilate, no doubt!


“What if the beggar uses the money to buy wine?” Pope Francis was asked.

Maybe “a glass of wine is his only happiness in life,” answered the Pope with a smile.

Hold on, responds Bishop Tobin, such giving “enables dishonest people to prey upon others’ compassion when they do not have legitimate needs.”

Here’s My Take: And on the night he was betrayed, Jesus took the cup of wine and said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”

It’s the beggar that twice says “God bless you,” not the bishop.

And then, halfway across the street he turned and said “Happy Easter!”