“Democracy is a treasure of civilization, and it must be guarded” against “the risks” posed by “populisms” and possible “empires” of international powers. On the return flight from Greece, Pope Francis launched an appeal to protect democracy from its enemies, internal and external, while demanding from the European Union an effective policy for the reception of migrants and refugees, whom he visited in a historic tour on Sunday around the island of Lesbos.
The Pope, from the refugee camp in Lesbos: “Let’s stop this shipwreck of civilization”
During half an hour of conversation, Francis also entered the rugged resignation of the Archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit, after acknowledging an ‘ambiguous’ behavior (as he himself defined it) with a woman in 2012. “There was a failure towards the sixth commandment, not total. Of small massages that he gave the secretary. This is a sin. But not the most serious. The sins of the flesh are not the most serious, “said the Pontiff, who attacked” the gossip “that “It violates the fame of the people.”
“That is why I accepted his resignation. But not on the altar of truth, but on that of hypocrisy,” he added, in a conversation with the media in which the name of the former bishop of Solsona, Xavier Novell, did not appear. Last week he contracted a civil marriage without having requested a dispensation from Rome.
“We must discover” the abuses
The Pope elaborated on the issue of abuse, although he acknowledged not having read in depth the report on pedophilia in France because, he argued, he hopes that the French bishops will explain it to him soon. On the attitude of the Church to pedophilia, Bergoglio was clear: “We have to discover”, although he insisted on interpreting the data with a certain historical perspective. A new warning to the Spanish and Italian bishops?
“For example, slavery. We say: ‘a brutality’. The abuses of 100 and 70 years ago, we say: ‘a brutality’. But the way they lived it is not the same today. Abuses in the Church were to cover, which is the way that is unfortunately used in families too. And we say that this does not work, that we must discover, “he insisted.
Returning to democracy, Francisco drew “two dangers.” “One is that of the populisms that are here and there,” he stressed, pointing to “Nazism, which was a populism that, defending -or so he said- national values, led to the death of many and a bloody dictatorship” .
Populisms and “supranational governments”
For this reason, Francisco cried out so that “governments do not slide towards the path of populisms” that, he asked, should not be confused with “popularisms”, or identity samples. The other great risk for democracies, he added, is the path by which “national values are slowly sacrificed, they are diluted towards an empire, a kind of supranational government.”
“This is something that should make us think. The identities of an international government should not be watered down,” he warned, pointing out the risks that “a superpower dictates economic, social and cultural behavior to other countries.”
Regarding the drama of the refugees, which he saw first-hand on Lesbos, Francisco recalled that “whoever builds walls loses the sense of history, of their history.” “They run the risk of being slaves,” he denounced, requesting that “each government must clearly decide how many they can receive. They know how many they are capable of.”
“But migrants must be welcomed, accompanied, promoted and integrated,” he insisted. “If we don’t solve the problem, we risk wrecking civilization.”
Finally, Bergoglio also criticized the recommendation of the European Union, later canceled, to replace the ‘Merry Christmas’ with a ‘Happy Holidays’, which he called an “anachronism” typical of “a watered down secularism” that others have already tried to do, such as ” Napoleon, the Nazi dictatorship or the communist “. In this sense, he asked the EU “to be careful not to pay attention to ideological colonizations.”
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