Pope Francis, Confusing and Confused

Pope Francis is a strange man. He has seemed, at times, to grasp the nature of the threat to Europe of what he once had no hesitation in describing as an “Arab invasion.” Here is what he said in 2014 in an interview with La Vie:

“The only continent that can bring about a certain unity to the world is Europe,” the Pope adds. “China has perhaps a more ancient, deeper, culture. But only Europe has a vocation towards universality and service.” … “If Europe wants to rejuvenate, it is necessary for it to find anew its cultural roots. Of all Western countries, the European roots are the strongest and deepest. By the way of colonization, these roots even reached the New World. But, by forgetting its history, Europe weakens itself. It is then that it risks becoming an empty place.”

La Vie: “Europe, an empty place? The expression is strong. … Because in the history of civilizations, emptiness always calls fullness to itself. Incidentally, the Pope becomes clinical [in his diagnosis]:

“We can speak today of an Arab invasion. It is a social fact.” … “How many invasions Europe has known throughout its history! It has always known how to overcome itself, moving forward to find itself as if made greater by the exchange between cultures.”

Clearly the Pope is torn between recognition of the parlous state Europe is now in (“we can speak today of an Arab invasion”), and faith in its amazing powers of recuperation, as he sees it in his pollyannish fashion, for this “Europe..has always known how to overcome itself, moving forward to find itself as if made greater by the exchange between cultures.”

So which is it?

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