Did Karl Marx become Pope on March 13, 2013?
As the leader of a Church that encompasses the globe, one might expect Pope Francis to be a bit more…spiritual. Instead, he has more than once had recourse to Marxist analysis to explain global events, appearing to see economic deprivation as the cause of all the world’s evils. He did it again in an interview published last Monday, when he opined that the root cause of the refugee crisis engulfing Europe was economic inequality:
It is the tip of an iceberg. These poor people are fleeing war, hunger, but that is the tip of the iceberg. Because underneath that is the cause; and the cause is a bad and unjust socioeconomic system, in everything, in the world – speaking of the environmental problem –, in the socioeconomic society, in politics, the person always has to be in the centre. That is the dominant economic system nowadays, it has removed the person from the centre, placing the god money in its place, the idol of fashion. There are statistics, I don’t remember precisely, (I might have this wrong), but that 17% of the world’s population has 80% of the wealth.
Let’s see. Are the Syrian refugees fleeing war and hunger? Certainly. Are they, however, fleeing an unjust economic system? Are they fleeing Syria because Bashar Assad on the one hand and the Islamic State on the other are top-hatted plutocrats puffing cigars and chuckling as they send the proletariat off to back-breaking labor? Are Assad and the Islamic State fighting one another for an increased market share? Are the Syrian refugees streaming into Europe because Syria is in love with the god money and the idol of fashion? (The Pope actually may be on to something with that idol of fashion bit: certainly women in the Islamic State holdings in Syria will get killed if they don’t bow to the Islamic State’s idol of fashion and cover everything but their hands and face.)
In reality, the refugees are leaving Syria because the Sunnis of the Islamic State and other jihad groups are waging jihad against the Alawite regime of Assad and his Shi’ite Iranian allies, and have torn the country apart in the process. But to acknowledge that would require the Pope to admit that there is such a thing as jihad violence in the first place, and he is not at all disposed to do that; back in November 2013, he proclaimed his “respect for true followers of Islam” and declared that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence.”
So the peaceful Koran couldn’t possibly have anything to do with this refugee crisis, could it? It must be those heartless Syrian tycoons, or more precisely the European and American ones who are presumably keeping the Syrians in a perpetual state of poverty and deprivation.
Meanwhile, the refugees are not all fleeing hardship in Syria at all. Last February, the Islamic State promised to flood Europe in the near future with as many as 500,000 refugees. And an Islamic State operative recently boasted that among the flood of refugees, 4,000 Islamic State jihadis had entered Europe. “They are going like refugees,” he said, but they were going with the plan of sowing blood and mayhem on European streets. As he told this to journalists, he smiled and said, “Just wait.” He explained: “It’s our dream that there should be a caliphate not only in Syria but in all the world, and we will have it soon, inshallah.”
And last Monday, Lebanese Education Minister Elias Bou Saab warned that Islamic jihadis make up as much as two percent of the Syrian refugees in his country alone. Since there are 1.1 million Syrians in refugee camps in Lebanon, that amounts to 20,000 jihadis. How many more are already in Europe?
Despite his Marxist analysis, in the same interview the Pope acknowledged the possibility that there could be Islamic jihadists among the refugees: “I recognize that, nowadays, border safety conditions are not what they once were. The truth is that just 400 kilometres from Sicily there is an incredibly cruel terrorist group. So there is a danger of infiltration, this is true.” He even admitted that Rome could be at risk: “Yes, nobody said Rome would be immune to this threat.”
Despite this, however, he reiterated his request that Catholic parishes take in refugees: “What I asked was that in each parish and each religious institute, every monastery, should take in one family. A family, not just one person. A family gives more guarantees of security and containment, so as to avoid infiltrations of another kind.” And he applauded Europe’s welcoming of the refugees: “I want to say that Europe has opened its eyes, and I thank it. I thank the European countries which have become opened their eyes to this.”
Yet in so many important ways his own eyes appear to remain firmly closed. Is societal suicide really a requirement of Christian charity? Must Europe allow itself to be overrun by hostile invaders in order to prove its lack of racism and willingness to extend help to the needy? These are questions that Church leaders ought to be considering, but they’re too busy with their “dialogue” sessions at the local mosque to busy themselves with such trivialities. No doubt that “dialogue” will result in calls for more redress of economic inequalities, in accord with the Pope’s own world view – and more money will be showered upon Muslim countries, enabling the purchase of more weaponry and the onset of more jihad. At least Europe, as the blade plunges into its collective throat, can congratulate itself that even unto death, it always welcomed the stranger.