As Spiritual Mediator, Francis Moves His Geopolitical Agenda Forward
Richard Bennett and Robert Nicholson
As the months go by, the world political situation continues to become more unstable. Russia’s Putin has taken the Crimea from the Ukraine. The Middle East remains engulfed in fighting. Clearly, the shifting global balance of power and impotence of the UN has created an opportunity for Pope Francis to expand his own geopolitical agenda. Thus, donning the guise of a peacemaker, Francis was able to use the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s visit to Israel in 1964 to launch his latest offensive for papal dominion in several spheres. It is under this rubric that Pope Francis’s trip to Israel and Palestine in May 2014, and the subsequent June 8th prayer meeting in Rome, ought to be viewed.
The basis on which Francis premised his mission was flawed. This became evident when Francis’s diplomatic rhetoric did not equate with a number of well-known facts. For example, he stated in his greeting to Shimon Peres, the president of Israel, “Peacemaking demands…respect for the dignity and freedom of every human person….”1 Next, he said that Jews, Christians, and Muslims all believe each person is created by God and destined to eternal life. Immediately he followed with a calculated untruth when he said, “This shared conviction enables us resolutely to pursue peaceful solutions to every controversy and conflict.”2 Everyone knows that this so-called “shared conviction” does nothing of the sort. Rather with this statement, Francis has tacitly glossed over the fact that Muslims have vowed death to all Jews and the Jewish state. Nor does the Roman Catholic system ”resolutely” pursue peaceful solutions to every controversy. Rather the Papal system demands a submission of intellect and will to its claimed infallible Pope. The stipulated demand is given in the following official words: “The Supreme Pontiff, in virtue of his office, possesses infallible teaching authority when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful...he proclaims with a definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held as such.”3 Moreover, the system pronounces a punishment for not obeying its dictates: “The Church has an innate and proper right to coerce offending members of the Christian faithful by means of penal sanctions.”4 There is a distinct disparity between Papacy’s words of peace and its own modus operandi. Consequently, it becomes plausible that the purpose of the Pontiff’s visit to Ammon, Bethlehem, and Israel was something other than simply seeking geopolitical peace for the sake of good will.
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