At a large rally of young people in Turin yesterday, Pope Francis made some remarks that left me shaking my head. Here’s The Guardian‘s report of the Pope’s speech about war and politics:
“If you trust only men you have lost. . . . It makes me think of . . . people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit of distrust, doesn’t it?”
Pope Francis also said of those who invest in the weapons industry: “duplicity is the currency of today . . . they say one thing and do another.”
Then Pope Francis took a swipe at the Allies — Great Britain, U.S., France, and Russia — during World War II:
“The great powers had the pictures of the railway lines that brought the trains to the concentration camps like Auschwitz to kill Jews, Christians, homosexuals, everybody. Why didn’t they bomb (the railway lines)?”
Is this the same Pope who inspired many two years ago when he said of homosexuality:
“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
Pope Francis is willing to judge not only those who produce the weapons that protect free people and nations but also the leadership of the nations who lost millions of men and women to defeat Nazi regime.
Has Pope Francis given any thought to the weapons that are needed to defeat new regime of terror and genocide, ISIS? These Islamic extremists, like Hitler, seeking to conquer the world, beginning with cutting off Christian heads in North Africa and making sex slaves of young women in Nigeria and Yazidi?
Are these murderers, these perpetrators of genocide, going to put down their arms voluntarily? Will they surrender without weapons being aimed in their direction? Or will they, like Hitler’s Germans and Hirohito’s Japanese, be willing to die regardless of the odds?
Frankly I’m stunned at the Holy Father’s remarks in Turin. Whether “off the cuff” or not, such blanket condemnation of persons, their intentions, and whole communities is not what Pope Francis himself has been saying or exemplifying.
I’m also perplexed at the historical naiveté: How many times does history have to teach us that force is necessary to protect freedom, justice, human dignity, and innocent life?
Will the Pope next call into question the faith of those who serve in the military around the world?
What about the Pope’s own Swiss Guards who have been serving the Holy See since 1506? The Swiss Guards are fully armed and prepared to protect the life of the Holy Father. Does the Pope doubt the Christianity of those who built their weapons or the men who carry them, prepared to use them in defense of life? Prepared to give their lives for him?
What happened to the Holy Father who won hearts around the world with plea for humility and compassion? Surely Pope Francis is not following in the footsteps of so many on the political left who plead compassion, but only for those who embrace their political agenda.
My first thought was that the pope has not read the Old Testament.
Today we are to love our enemies and turn the other cheek. We are no longer called to support the military. The Old Testament is good but much of it is not to be practiced today, which is why it is called the Old Testament. Or perhaps you think it is acceptable today to treat people the way the Jews treated the Canaanites, killing everyone included men, women, children and young babies. Then we should also make sure we kill people for disobeying their parents or for working on the Sabbath.
Seems to me that Francis needs to examine himself for that duplicity he spoke of. He scares me.
With all due respect, why not read the actual words of the Pope, in context, rather than a secular media source that is not truly reporting the Pope’s context? Same with “Who am I to Judge” quote, which was utterly misrepresented by nearly all media sources, & (even though it is very easy to find his actual words & context of that quote) is being falsely used above..
Even using the secular source used above, with a bit of critical thought his meaning should be understood.. The Pope makes a very valid point.. WHY did no one use the weapons to bomb/ destroy the train tracks which the world knew sent millions to horrific labor camps & even directly to ovens/ immediate death..
Is it not bearing false witness when we (either through laziness or intentional) misrepresent another’s words? The Pope is correct… It IS hypocritical to claim oneself as a Christian, yet support (directly or indirectly) actions that knowingly lead to unchristian acts. If my employer took a contract to build weapons for a govmt that is known to misuse those weapons, I have a moral responsibility to chose God & leave that company (even if it is my family main source of income), or I am indirectly responsible morally for every innocent life taken..
(Btw- there is just war, which is easily found by a quick google search “Catholic teaching on just war”; the Catholic Church also supports defending ones life. It is not against weapons, in general, but the misuse. The use/ manufacturing/ selling for profit to groups known to use such weapons to murder innocent life. Even if your own hand doesn’t pull the trigger, you are culpable..)
Heather, I did read them in context first — I always do before making a comment.
Good work —. I too was concerned esp because political statements ( like those quoted about the worlds resources last week which I as a resilience resource ecologist object to)are biblically seen , in my view, to be made by individuals — which tends to rob them of the sort of power worshiped by the world. The evangelical tradition , which is where I mostly find myself, is prone too IMO to operate with a faithless fortification based on the doctrine of the powerful man’s own word power . Jesus knows we act like sheep and need a really good shepherd.
The pope is right about Western powers. Let us not forget that we studiously avoided the war until the disaster at Pearl Harbor, and that we were responsible for Reprehensible aggression against civilians, such as the firebombing of Dresden, and the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and (Catholic area of) Nagasaki. It strains the imagination that we did not know about the Holocaust or Stalin’s gulags killing millions. We just focused on what affected America’s narrowly drawn national interest.
Deal – I must admit to feeling somewhat confused by Pope Francis. I’ve read the encyclical twice, and follow along with him on most of it. But, yesterday’s remarks and earlier ones do leave me feeling that he is not understanding the United States, at all. Just feels a little like a social or liberation theology. I’m sure I’m off-base, and will have to study up. Lisa
Good work —link us to a site when you have sorted the stuff for yourself . I too was concerned esp because political statements are biblically seen , in my view, to be made by individuals — which tends to rob them of the sort of power worshiped by the world.
This Pope seems a loose cannon. He spouts off about everything and anything, and what he speaks and what he does is contradictory, such as saying the unborn must be valued and protected, then appointing an atheist population-reduction disciple to the Vatican Academy of Science. The fruits of this pontificate sure do smell kinda funny…
It would always be an easy thing to spell out our brilliant ideas! Well, that’s good. However, we need prudence all the time. What do I mean by it? It is that we put into action what we say into words. That’s is prudence, and it is not merely safeguarding our mouths or minds.
In the world today, nothing we can better do if we’ll keep rationalizing things. We need to make a move to change this attitude. To criticize Francis is easy. But, do we really show justice on him with our comments about the words he uttered?
Let us not be idealists! Instead, be realistic! Nobody will be hurt if no one will intentionally hurt. It’s easy to kill a person these days because deadly weapons can already be found here and there. Nevertheless, do we really need them to protect life? Maybe for security because we don’t know how other peoples’ minds work. But, if we all participate in making and giving peace in the world, do these weapons still serve best? No more! We do not need them at all.