Pope Francis and the EU
There is a lovely saying that goes: People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Makes sense doesn’t it. It’s a saying that could resonate with one when considering the speech Pope Francis delivered to the EU on November 25, 2014.
Here are some points he made in his speech.
EU has lost its way
Pope Francis spoke about Europe having lost its way. Of letting economic crises and bureaucracy beat the energy out of people and countries and that it was increasingly becoming a bystander to what was happening in the world.
Good coming from one of the biggest ‘nations’ in the world with it’s own sovereign country based in Rome. If any organisation has lost its way and its relevance it is the Catholic Church. Once a relevant player in people’s lives the church has significantly lost touch with it’s constituency and the society that its members have to live in.
Even its recent Synod on the Family held in October 2014 ignored the issues closest to the hearts of its members such as divorce and gay rights. It’s an organisation that has totally lost touch with the world and truly has lost its way.
EU not serving its people
The Pope stated that the ‘EU citizens showed growing mistrust towards institutions considered to be aloof, engaged in laying down rules perceived as incentive to individual people, if not downright harmful.’
This statement, coming from Pope Francis, is preposterous. If any institution could be described in these words it is the Catholic Church. Here is a body of people who want to dictate to its members what the members have to do to comply and belong. Surely the church should serve it’s people and not the other way around?
No wonder the members of the Catholic Church are allowing their faith to lapse and are quietly shuffling away. Attend any normal weekly service in a Catholic Church and see the average age of those taking part.
EU as a grandmother
He described the continent as a ‘grandmother, no longer fertile and vibrant’. Let’s reflect a moment on the Catholic Church and it’s significance to the community it serves. Living on Malta, an island steeped in the Catholic faith with 360 churches across a minute island, one would imagine this could be an example of a ‘fully fertile and vibrant young woman’.
Yet attend any service in these beautiful old buildings and the average age of attendants are grandmothers, no longer fertile and vibrant. And the services are held by old men in frocks. Not necessarily old in terms of chronological age.
EU as non Humanitarian
He had some pertinent things to say about the lack of support the EU is providing to refugees and the fact that the Mediterranean is becoming one big graveyard. There is no doubt that this is the truth.
However, with all the wealth the Catholic Church has one doesn’t really see the church implementing a huge outreach programme or showing a helping presence towards refugees themselves. Considering that the entire EU countries bordering on the Med are fully catholic ones, one would imagine that the church and its members would be standing on the beaches with outstretched hand helping people off boats. As per the Bible’s teaching. None to be seen.
And in fact the Catholic Church could take note of what the Muslim faithful are doing. 1.6 million Syrians are currently seeking refuge in Turkey.
Final bits on Pope Francis
There is not doubt that Pope Francis is a man of virtue and integrity. And there is further no doubt that what he had to say is relevant and accurate. However, Pope Francis takes his authority and credibility from the organisation he represents and which has given him his title.
And it is this representation that has allowed him to speak to the EU parliament. Nobody would give Jorge Mario Bergoglio the time of day. Even as a man of virtue and integrity. His authority stems from his title and position in the Catholic Church. And it’s the Catholic Church that is not really entitled to voice the opinions he had. It needs to get its own house in order first before preaching to others.