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THE TWO FACES OF THE POPE

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THE TWO FACES OF THE POPE

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To be the leader, as Pope Francis is, to be the undisputed spokesman for 600 million Catholics, it could be said that the Pope’s message, his thoughts, his very unspoken ideas are the meat and drink of the faithful. In matters of Dogma, of the written and spoken beliefs which are to be taken as incontrovertibly true and unchallenged, his is the supreme word; in all other matters, he utters his opinion, his opinion which is just as relevant, or indeed irrelevant, as any others; and that is, for everyone else, how he is to be judged.

In the centuries before modern transport was available, and communications was by the written word alone, a Papal opinion, on both dogma and of worldly matters, was deemed to be from the man who walked in the steps of St. Peter. The Papal opinion and replies, in the matter of Henry the Eighth, and his plea for the annulment of his marriage to Catherine, because he had no male heirs and, as Catherine was his brother’s widow; being a matter of dogma, was taken as ‘the Word’ from on high: and thus was created the Anglican Church.

So, as the heir to the keys of St. Peter, and of Roman Catholicism, Pope Francis could be said to be one who should be listened to with respect, if not always with resignation.

But now Pope Francis is coming out and speaking on two very different matters. He speaks on and against the so-called ‘Populist Movement’; towards those who move resentfully against mass migration from foreign countries and cultures, who speak proudly of ‘nationalism’. On Thursday, Pope Francis addressed a Vatican conference that sought to tie “populist nationalism” to racism and xenophobia as part of an ongoing campaign to encourage immigration.

He, and he alone, thinks he can decide how people view mass immigration, because he stated If we look at the world scene in our time, more and more voices are sowing division and confrontation – often by exploiting insecurity or situations of conflict – and proclaiming that the only way possible to guarantee security and the continued existence of a culture is to try to eliminate, cancel or expel others.

So anyone, from Latvia to Spain, from Great Britain to Poland and beyond, who believes and hopes for a bit of sense to prevail in the area of mass migration, is in the Pope’s eyes and mind, a sinner of the worst kind. I am so glad that I owe no allegiance to this man, because that, folks, is all he is. When he uses the toilet, his bodily functions are exactly as mine, and therefore he is no different to me. He was elected to a position of high power in his religion, but does that give him any extra powers as far as the average man holds? He is as mortal and as vulnerable as any other on any matter which concerns everyday life: it is only on matters of religion is he given authority within his religion, and in this commentator’s view, he should stick to the day job.

But now he speaks again, making concordats and political arrangements with the Government of Red China, regarding the appointment of bishops which are ‘suitable’ to the Communist regime which holds the most populous nation in the world within its armed and vicious grasp. For decades, the Catholic Church has fought to preserve its individuality, its ‘raison d’etre’; its relevance as a separate entity: which preaches Christianity rather than accommodation with godless Communism. Priests and Bishops have literally sacrificed their freedom rather than bow down to the false gods of Communism: and now Pope Francis, with due solemnity, has cast all that sacrifice to the winds, and signed up to an accommodation with the Communists because, in the words of the Vatican spokesman, ‘the deal is the beginning, not the end, of a process of dialogue between people from “very different standpoints.” He said the objective of the accord is “not political but pastoral” and will allow “the faithful to have bishops who are communion with Rome but at the same time recognised by Chinese authorities.”

There is nothing more uncomfortably satisfying than to have your worst fears come true; and with every day that this Pope rules his flock, he shows exactly what he thinks of those who oppose him in both politics; and in the religion which he is supposed to be leading.

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