I’ve written frequently about the great harm that Pope Francis has done to the Catholic Church as the result of his subtle and not-so-subtle attacks on Catholic teaching, Catholic tradition, Catholic morality, and Catholic liturgy.
But it’s also important to realize that his misguided views on world affairs have a similarly harmful effect on the lives of Catholics and non-Catholics all over the globe.
This is most obvious in regard to Francis’s encouragement of an open borders immigration policy. His campaign has been aimed for the most part at wealthy Western nations—particularly European countries. Francis regularly reminds Europeans that they have a duty to “welcome the stranger” and provide him or her with all the benefits that natural-born citizens enjoy.
Admittedly, some of the slogans that Francis and other advocates of open borders employ are hard to resist: “build bridges, not walls,” “the holy family were once immigrants,” “if you close the door on the immigrant, you are closing the door on Jesus.”
Of course, this “let-them-all-come-in” approach didn’t start with Francis. The majority of Catholic bishops have long been pro-immigration. In America, for instance, the welcoming attitude that Catholics extended to waves of European immigrants was bolstered by the fact that many bishops were themselves sons or grandsons of immigrants.
The story of immigration into Europe is a more complex tale, but by the end of the 20th century, most Europeans had bought into the idea that immigration was a good thing: it supposedly increased cultural diversity and added to the labor supply, thus keeping the European welfare state afloat.
But things have changed. Recent polls show that Europeans now have mixed feelings about the wisdom of admitting people who do not share their values into their countries. They are particularly worried about the influx of millions of migrants from Muslim countries. In fact, the polls show that a majority of Europeans want a complete halt to Muslim migration.
As might be expected this change of attitude doesn’t sit well with Europe’s bishops. After a meeting with Pope Francis, Bishop Mariano Crociata, the president of the Bishops Conference of the European Union, expressed concern about the upcoming European Parliamentary elections. He was worried about polls which forecast major gains for the “far-right” in the ballot.
“Far-right” is, of course, code for anti-immigration. As Bishop Crociata put it, “[ it is ] unthinkable that Europe, with a rapidly dropping birth rate fails to recognize the need for a contribution such as that of immigrants for its survival.”
His statement echoes the views of Francis on immigration and it also reveals the dangerous naivete of those views.
It’s quite true that the European birth rate is dropping rapidly. At the same time, the Muslim birth rate is rising rapidly. So, the most likely candidates for filling the birth rate gap would be Muslim migrants. But it’s precisely the Islamic culture that these migrants bring with them that worries the “far-right.” And the enormous rise in crime, terrorism and antisemitism—not to mention the widespread vandalism and torching of Christian churches—bears them out.
Moreover, many Muslim leaders, including President Erdogan of Turkey, have made it known that because of its high birth rate and refusal to assimilate, Islam will eventually dominate Europe both culturally and politically.
The only way that Bishop Crociata’s (and Francis’s) idealistic vision could possibly work to the benefit of Europeans would require the mass conversion of Muslims to Christianity. And that is highly unlikely, not only because Islam considers Christianity to be a false religion, but also because the Christian Faith is at a low ebb in most of Europe. If any converting is to be done it will likely be the other way around.
To top it all off, Pope Francis doesn’t believe in conversion. Rather, he believes that all religions share the same basic beliefs and values. Thus, there is no point in converting from one faith to another.
Unfortunately, the naïve view that Islam and Christianity are close cousins is not confined to Francis but is widely shared by Catholic educators across the world. Long before Francis informed us that “authentic Islam and a proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence,” young Catholics in France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and elsewhere had been led to believe that Catholics and Muslims worship the same God and venerate the same Jesus.
The inculcation of this sentimental view of Islam probably accounts for the fact that many Europeans were totally unprepared for the encounter with the reality of Islam that came with the 2015-2016 mass Muslim migration. Among many other unpleasant surprises, the encounter included a sexual assault by North African Muslims against over a thousand women not far from Cologne Cathedral.
Although Francis is quite shrewd about Church politics, he is alarmingly naïve about other matters. For example, his rose-colored view of Islam is matched by an equally simplistic and uninformed view of communism and the dire consequences of embracing its ideology. It’s quite likely that if Francis rather than John Paul II had been pope at the end of the 20th century, Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe would still be communist. It’s also likely that many young Catholics of today would respond to that scenario with a “What’s wrong with that?” shrug of the shoulders.
Pictured above: Pope Francis blesses children
Photo credit: Pixabay