The Holy Father’s been having a tough time lately. He recently gave a statement to reporters on the war against Isis that has onlookers baffled: ‘It’s war, we don’t have to be afraid to say this … a war of interests, for money, resources. I am not speaking of a war of religions. Religions don’t want war. The others want war.’
Father Alexander Lucie-Smith asks the right questions (which arise in greater abundance than anything like an insight into the machinations of the papal mind): ‘What are these “interests”, or vested interests, as we would put it in English? And who are the “others” who want war?’
I’m a huge fan of Fr Lucie-Smith’s, and pray daily for the patience he exercises in writing this:
It is really important that we remember that people like Fr Jacques Hamel, or the Christians celebrating Easter in Pakistan, or the nun shot dead in Somalia, or the many Christians murdered in churches in Kenya, are not posing any danger to anyone. They are not provoking anyone either. If this is war, it is a war being fought be one side only. And indeed, even in words, the war is one sided. The threats uttered by Muslims towards Christians are blood-curdling; there is no Christian equivalent to ISIS and its propaganda machine. Christianity is not at war with anyone: it is the victim of warmongers.
‘Up To a point, Lord Copper.’
The Pope also raised eyebrows when… well, just read this:
At Rome’s Basilica of St. Bartholomew, a shrine to modern martyrs, Pope Francis presided over an evening prayer service April 22, honouring Christians killed under Nazism, communism, dictatorships and terrorism.
‘These teach us that with the force of love and with meekness one can fight arrogance, violence and war and that with patience peace is possible,’ the pope said in his homily in the small basilica on Rome’s Tiber Island.
Departing from his prepared text, Pope Francis said he wanted to add to the martyrs remembered at St. Bartholomew by including “a woman – I don’t know her name – but she watches from heaven.’
The pope said he’d met the woman’s husband, a Muslim, in Lesbos, Greece, when he visited a refugee camp there in 2016. The man told the pope that one day, terrorists came to their home. They saw his wife’s crucifix and ordered her to throw it on the ground. She refused and they slit her throat.
‘I don’t know if that man is still at Lesbos or if he has been able to leave that concentration camp,’ the pope said, explaining that despite the good will of local communities many refugee camps are overcrowded and are little more than prisons ‘because it seems international agreements are more important than human rights.’
Up to a point, Lord Copper.
Look, Francis is a good man. Better than plenty of the men who’ve sat on St Peter’s throne before him. But I just wish he, as the leader of the Universal Church, could honour its martyrs without devolving into a reductio ad Hitlerum tirade about how Europe needs to embrace mass immigration. Especially in the presence of Roselyne Hamel, sister of Father Jacques, who was himself martyred by Islamists. It’s just not kosher.
I’d like to come back to Fr Lucie-Smith’s point that this ‘Holy War’ is shockingly one-sided. Christians aren’t waging a Crusade against Muslims. Just the opposite: the head of the Catholic Church is ordering us to throw open the gates to our cities and let them all in. Whether or not he’s right to do so (and I suspect rather gravely that he isn’t) is beside the point. A one-sided war is better known as a ‘genocide’. That’s the ultimate reality: Christians – including many Catholics – are being systematically exterminated by jihadists under Francis’s papacy.
Maybe the shepherd should worry more about saving his flock from the wolves, and less about perpetuating negative lupine stereotypes.
Just a suggestion.
Michael Davis tweets at @KermitLaphroaig
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