Pope Francis has done it again!
And again, he’s pontificating (forgive the pun) about migrants, immigration and government policies.
Bottom line of his latest foray into this issue is him saying the rights of migrants trump national security concerns.
It’s interesting that he expounds on this just as ISIS has released a graphic video threatening attacks against him, Rome and the Vatican.
At the same time, the Vatican is confirming that security is being beefed up in the event there is a problem. Across Europe, there is higher security as reports continue of threats against churches and cathedrals.
Indeed, Commander Christoph Graf, the chief of the Vatican Guard, has warned that it would only be a “matter of time” before the city is targeted in an attack inspired or directed by the Islamic State. He says he is prepared.
This is real life, and yet Pope Francis seems to ignore it.
The reaction to his comments isn’t new and it isn’t positive. But then, Pope Francis is often criticized for making broad statements, seemingly off the cuff, which are critical of government policies or even religious practices.
As he travels the world, Pope Francis continues cutting his wide verbal path into every area of politics and domestic life in addition to religion. And as he does so, he continues to put his foot in his mouth.
Remember, “Who am I to judge?”
Not all Catholics are happy with him for this and, indeed, there are many in government as well, who are more than uncomfortable with his broad statements that infringe on international politics and policies.
As if Roman Catholics don’t have enough to worry about dealing with all the fallout from Vatican Two changes in the Mass and worship, they continue to have to deal with a pope who, it seems, is constantly venturing verbally into areas that are not in his religious domain.
Many Catholics don’t know how to deal with this. Generally, the way the American Church deals with it, is to ignore it. It’s rare for a parish or diocese to speak out with any criticism of Pope Francis.
That reaction doesn’t work quite so well in Europe, which often is the focal point of the controversies that Pope Francis creates and/or inflames.
The subject about which he has been pressuring governments most is that of “refugees and migrants.” Bottom line, according to him, the issue is that Western countries must do more to welcome those people who are mostly from Muslim countries.
At first, his words were heard and tolerated, but as the pope continues his verbal and other pressure, a rebellion of sorts is taking place.
His most dramatic message was just two weeks ago when he stated clearly that migrants must be welcomed, there should be no expulsions, that migrants must be protected, promoted and integrated and that migrants’ “dignity and right to protection trumps national security concerns.”
He wasn’t kidding about that. He said the principle of ensuring the dignity of a person “obliges us to always prioritize personal safety over national security.”
Critics find it interesting that he puts the safety of migrants above the safety of citizens of the host country and, indeed, of that country as a whole.
Pope Francis urges that border guards be trained to protect migrants and, as the Associated Press reported, that each arrival must be guaranteed access to basic services beyond health care. This would include access to consulates and the justice system, the ability to open a bank account and survive financially. In addition, unaccompanied minors must be guaranteed citizenship, schooling and foster programs.
Reaction has been loud and not positive, especially in Italy. Many are calling it unrealistic and an unheard of meddling in Italian politics.
Italy has been grapping with the arrival of multi-millions of immigrants over the last few years. Most are from Africa and the Middle East, and it’s felt they’ve reached a limit. Italian Sen. Roberto Calderoli said Italy grants the most citizenships in Europe now – some 200,000 a year – and cannot do more.
The E.U. has threatened to cut development aid to countries that refuse to send failed asylum seekers home.
More and more individual cities are taking measures to protect themselves against terrorist attacks similar to that in Barcelona – which, we’ve learned, was originally aimed at destroying the Sagreda Familia Church in that city.
As for more expounding on the plight of refugees from the Vatican, be prepared. The 2018 World Refugee Day is to be celebrated by the Church as the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, on Jan. 14.
You can expect Pope Francis and those supporting him will take the podium to support and encourage the ongoing massive migration of people from the Third World and from terrorist nations into the West – seemingly ignoring the chaos and danger it is causing to peace-loving, freedom-supporting people, regardless of the country they call home.
How faithful Catholics deal with this is a dilemma that Pope Francis seemingly ignores, as do American bishops and priests.
But average Catholics are paying attention.
Media wishing to interview Barbara Simpson, please contact [email protected].