Joseph Pronechen is staff writer with the National Catholic Register since 2005. His articles have appeared in a number of national publications including Columbia magazine, Soul, Faith and Family, Catholic Digest, and Marian Helper. His religion features have also appeared in Fairfield County Catholic and in one of Connecticut’s largest news dailies. He holds an MS degree and formerly taught English and courses in film study that he developed at a Catholic high school in Connecticut. Joseph and his wife Mary reside on the East Coast.
On many New York City evenings the Empire State Building is lit up in different colors to celebrate or honor something or someone.
But Bill Donohue of the Catholic League pointed out: “The Empire State Building will not light its tower…in honor of Pope Francis. Instead, it will acknowledge the opening night gala of the New York Philharmonic.”
Not much new here as Donohue also note the same treatment went to “Mother Teresa on the anniversary of her centenary.”
He said the chairman and CEO said in a statement the privately owned building “has a specific policy against any other lighting for religious figures or requests by religions and religious organizations."
But, countered Donohue, “Well they do…They acknowledged the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King as they should and the pope is also a head of state."
What might be things considered more important to honor or draw attention to? Maybe a small sample from the Empire State Building’s own list since this spring will shed some light on subjects they found worthy of lighting up the building for.
Then we had others picked — but not Pope Francis for either day he was in New York — like April’s blue and white pinstripes and blue and orange to honor of baseball’s Subway Series; green in honor of Earth Day; and green and yellow honoring the 2015 Masters Tournament.
May saw red in honors for Comic Relief's Red Nose Day and Metropolitan Museum of Art’s costume institute’s spring 2015 exhibition.
Along in June were colors celebrating the 147th Running of the Belmont Stakes, World Oceans Day, a rainbow for New York City Pride Week, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
July’s honorees included the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team, while August’s included the US Open and the 25th Annual Dragon Boat Festival in New York City. All much more important, it seems.
September’s green honored the Climate Group and Climate Week, more pinstripes form another Subway Series, and so on.
Almost forgot the real kicker. August had a lighting display that formed pictures of animals to raise public awareness for the endangered.
Even Cecil the Lion got into that act.
So what about Francis?