At European Parliament, Pope Bluntly Critiques a Continent’s Malaise

Europe, he declared before the European Parliament in France, has lost its way, its energies sapped by economic crisis and a remote, technocratic bureaucracy.

Comments: 134

  1. The Vatican City is an independent State. How many refugees has it accepted?

  2. While the Vatican City is an independent state, as you must know, in size it is just a few square acres. Where would you put the refugees? Or is this just an exercise in anti-Catholicism?

  3. Vatican City is a few square miles. A better question is how much support Catholic charities provide to refugees worldwide. Look it up.

  4. it is also one of the smallest states in the world, if they were to take in refugees, where would they work, where would they live. please educate yourself on basic geography before making baseless comments.

  5. I have had the opportunity to do some world travel and marvel at the incredible, opulent Catholic charges adorning all corners, from the largest cities to the dustiest villages in the South American mountains. Perhaps Francis could look into releasing some of the literally billions of dollars the Vatican holds (and takes from the poor) to support those seeking a better life? The hypocrisy of the Church is beyond astounding.

  6. Not all the Vatican funds are from the poor. The Vatican owns, among other secular businesses, shopping centers and hotels on which it pays no Italian income tax because it's a religious organization.

  7. Billions ? Try trillions ...... in art, antiquities, real estate ........

  8. grannychi: Religious institutions pay no taxes in the US either, at a cost to the taxpayers of $80 billion a year, all of which is made up for by US citizens.

  9. The Pope has certainly stepped over the line. Telling sovereign countries to accept a mass of African and Muslim immigrants who will overload the social, welfare and health systems, change the cultures of the countries, and sow the seeds of further immigration and cultural destruction? I may listen to him on theological issues, but not on nationalist, economic or social ones.

  10. It is the Pope's duties and responsibilities as a spiritual and religious leader to ask for generosity and acceptance and compassion. Imagine the world would be like if there is no such voice as that of the Pope. To accept your logic is to accept that the human race is no better than animals.

  11. Chris, how do you separate theological issues from social issues? The Pope said “We cannot allow the Mediterranean to become a vast cemetery. The boats landing daily on the shores of Europe are filled with men and women who need acceptance and assistance.” Is this a social issue or theological? Does it make a difference? I think the Pope here is applying the teachings of Jesus to a modern human crisis. BTW, his words apply equally well to the immigrant situation in the US.

  12. Chris-Particularly given the Church's stance on birth control and the continued belief in 'be fruitful and multiply'. When does it end?

  13. Pope Francis is certainly an inspiring leader, and will bring positive reforms to the Catholic church... slowly, but he'll do it. However, before advising others to welcome refugees with open arms he should personally experience what it means to have your town, schools, hospitals and housing occupied by aggressive, unemployed, non tax paying refugees. As S.R. Simon wrote: how many refugees has the Vatican State accepted?

  14. how many refugees... Vatican is 110 acres.

  15. I agree. We can only hope and pray that this remarkable pope can achieve these positive reforms that he has embarked upon so that his stature as a world leader can be enhanced rather than diminished. Unfortunately, the mostly conservative Vatican bureaucracy must follow his example in the next synod on the family and join him in being more inclusive to have this more positive effect on the entire human family, not just the Roman Catholic one. Perhaps he can eventually meet these goals: (1) an updated Social Encyclical is needed to define them prior to the synod. In 1891, Pope Leo XIII, in his letter "Rerum Novarum", defined the Church's official position On Capital and Labor from which many of today's problems have ensued although it was widely acclaimed by both believers and non-believers alike at the time it was published. The last update was in 1991, by Pope John Paul II.
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xi...
    2) It needs to be made clear that gender/sexual discrimination can no longer be tolerated by the Church any more than it is by a society which has defined them as Human Rights which have their status and protection under civil law. You are correct in your assessment that these reforms will come about slowly, but also correct in your insistence that the Church must practice what it preaches in setting the example. This is the true "litmus test" of all effective leadership!

  16. Bob Kanegis: The Catholic Church once claimed half of the world. It has been reduced to mere acreage because it refused to understand the difference between 'constitution' and 'covenant'. It demanded that people remain 'subjects', not 'citizens'. It sneered at common sense ideas like 'equality', trade unions and education. Now it demands that its dictates on birth control, that there shall be none, be followed and, at the same time that it is wringing its hands over poverty, immigration, and joblessness. Sorry, I don't see any solutions from these men. In fact, I see that they are part and parcel of the problem.

  17. Not only "fearful and self-absorbed," Europe is also selfish and arrogance. It looks away from the poverty and human suffering of the sub-Saharan countries of Africa where it was the colonial master. It provides little assistance to the countries suffering from Ebola. It clings to the power that it had acquired at the many international institutions (IMF, World Bank and the UN among others) to the detriment of the survival and relevance of these institutions. It focuses excessively on financial stability at the expense of its own citizens and the world economy. It lacks imagination and instead relies on old Cold War tactics in dealing with international crisises while accusing other nations of the crisises that it initiates or acts as accomplice.

  18. The Catholic Church helped create the poverty and human suffering of the sub-Saharan Africa by teaching uneducated young women that it was a mortal sin to use birth control, just as they did in South and Central America. Not to mention that Liberia is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries and was never a colony and was, in fact an independent state for 200 years.

    Let the Church put their money will their mouth is and pay for the poverty they created.

    They can well afford it.

    And it is 'Crises', not 'crisises'.

  19. Oh, please. Have you any idea that Europe is flooded with Third World immigrants and migrants? China is exploiting more people in Africa than Europe is today. And just wait till Russia gets there. And I hate to tell you this, but sub-Saharan Africa was a really difficult place to live long before Europeans noticed it, and western civilisation, you know, the folks that gave us all the polio vaccine, the airplane, Shakespeare, Mozart, etc. . . . was also evolving long before Europe noticed Africa.

    Africa has lots of problems and it had them long before Europeans set foot there. Does Africa ever take ownership of anything that happens on that continent?

  20. Elizabeth, Europe "noticed" Africa back when the British were still wearing animal skins and killing each other with clubs. Remember Alexander and that little matter of a city called Alexandria in Egypt? Ever heard of the rich Egyptian civilization before the Romans colonized North Africa? Given the ancient association, couldn't we say that north Africans have a right to Italy and its resources? They were practically greek and Roman subjects. Surely more than the rest of the Schengen riff raff who can move wherever they choose to in the Schengen area.

    Selective amnesia tends to get called out.

  21. I like him. But I will REALLY like him when I am not pushed out from being a priest and excepted with open arms.

  22. You are being "excepted" - you might be a priest except that you are a woman. Baptism confers priesthood on all believers. Why do you need the formal role? Is it an ego thing?

  23. How about conducting the mass and the sacraments of the church?

  24. Dlud: '...Why do you need the formal role? Is it an ego thing?...'

    I suppose being the Pope is indeed an 'ego thing'.

    Or perhaps 'ego things' are only fine for men and women must remain subservient, of course.

  25. Europe urges the Vatican to melt down its gold to fight poverty, and open ALL of its church doors to refugees fleeing violence and poverty. Yea, right.

  26. And what have you done lately to help a refugee?

  27. Heck, the Vatican doesn't support its aged religious sisters, monks and priests. They're on their own.

  28. Dlud: Doubtful that anyone commenting here is personally responsible for denying hundreds of millions of women the right to family planning, thereby increasing poverty and the influx of refugees.

    But heck, they are just women and if God did not mean them to suffer, they would have been born men, right?

  29. Pope Francis is truly an inspiring figure, and I state this as a militant atheist.

  30. Are you listening Rick Santorum, Paul Ryan, Bill O'Riley, Ted Cruz, etc, etc, etc?

  31. I hope they are.. and ignoring it.

  32. Maybe we'll get an Op-Ed explaining how the pope is wrong, not doing his job correctly, and is a symptom of the demise of civilization after the Sexual Revolution.

  33. The underlying theme of Francis' message is respect for human dignity. Unfettered capitalism and its race to the bottom for the toiling workers subsumes dignity. Indifference born of state controlled bureaucratic aloofness and legalized rigidity depresses initiative and fosters hopelessness.

    It appears that the Pope believes in free market capitalism tempered by protection for worker rights. In the US that would make him a moderate politician. Can he run for US president?

  34. Tom Paine needs an answer. Here it is: NO! Not unless his parents gave birth to him here.

    But while Frank is a nice enough guy (who could not like him as a person) he represents all the diversion and insanity of religion. The Church could open another ghetto near St. Pete's for displaced Jews, Islamics and Tibetans. Or he could ask the European 1% and their corporations to give a little for the millions who suffer under the yoke of capitalism intertwined with religion. Maybe a trip to Mexico where millions of kids get their best meals at the city dump on Mondays after the local 1%-ers have gorged themselves is a place to start.

    Of course America is excluded from this Frankish tour speech or maybe he will come across the pond like all good politicians here go there to pay homage to their 1%.

    As said, Frank seems to be a good guy but he will never attack the root of all evil: the love of money in economic, social and political systems that fail the People and enrich the 1%.

    A FOX radio rock station D. J. told this tale: the six (6) Walton family heirs of Wal-Mark fame now are worth $145,000,000,000 (billion) a nice gain from only $110 billion just a few years ago. What makes the story so telling other than it was on a FOX owned rock station was the side bar story that many Wal-Mart stores are having fund raisers for needy Wal-Mart employees who cannot afford to eat or pay medical bills this Holiday.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving when you start 'Black Friday' at Wal-Mart!

  35. No, Tom. He can't. He's not a native-born citizen. He was neither born within our borders or territories, or of native-born citizens.

  36. You're apparently unaware that the Pope's given name is not Frank. He took the name 'Francis' as his papal title to acknowledge a great human being. I don't know whether the original Francis' 12th century buddies called him 'Frank'. At least you didn't refer to the Pope as 'Frankie boy'.

  37. Rome is filled with empty seminaries & convents. Why the Vatican alone could house the large Muslim families. There is ample elbow room for all the tragic refuges of the endless Islamic wars. "Acceptance and assistance”, should be taught by example.

  38. Why doesn't The Vatican share it's Billion with the poor instead of always asking for tax breaks and handout?

  39. Wii, If you do some simple but sincere objective research and step aside from preconceived animus, you will learn that it is already doing just that.

    None does more for the poor of the world.

  40. I don't see the marriage of the Pope's message with the so-called populist sentiment in Europe. Those movements are isolationist nation-state identity and integrity preservation in nature while the Pope's jargon smacks of marxist ideals as would be applied to a one-world community concept.

    Speaking of Marx, Karl not Groucho, in line with some other commenters' views, the current and clearly most-promising Pope hails from an organization that ironically inherits a message about who gets to cast stones.

  41. November 25, 2014

    It may be time for the Vatican State to have a permanent seat on the Security Council of the United Nations - and with a provisions for world class spiritual leaders to rotate every say five year cycle. There voices are needed and they carry great authority high and low and for vast populations - Okay let's include the Humanist or whatever. But for now its impressvie the actons of Pope Francis that is in the great spirit redloyed in the Pontificate to challenge the times on thw world stage and for humane and decent loving actionalbe grace.

  42. A nice speech. However, taking in millions of illegal immigrants - while a short-term fix that assuages feelings of guilt - is a sure recipe for a social disaster. As we can see today, the second generation will turn out to be social malcontents or worse.

  43. The Vatican maintains a defiance of birth control yet asks for compassion towards immigrants?

  44. Right on. Melt down the gold icons in the Vatican, and let them stay there

  45. Not too different than Caesar crossing the Rubicon? Notwithstanding this Pope's excellent PR skills, his coming to the US to promote "gender complementarity" (the view that the woman is the only responsible parent, the resources belong in men's control, etc) plus this utter failure to hold accountable the abusive/neglectful authorities in Africa, Latin America, etc., seems like an excellent way to launch another Reformation (get rid of the "indulgences" or tax subsidies to religion and patriarchal/maternalist families) and Enlightenment (use actual paternity not "marriage" as the basis for paternal responsibility). The Catholic ideology in Europe, still held by many who have abandoned religion and still baked into many constitutions and systems there, is actually the thing that is dragging Europe down?

    His visit to the US to address Congress is at the behest of Pelosi and Boehner. And he will also visit Philadelphia, home of the founders who believed "in souls there is no gender". A huge affront to everything that has made the US successful and helpful to other countries seeking to change.

    The US was founded in objection to this stuff. The "rights and responsibilities of person and citizen" Constitution is above any one leader; no authoritarian leader may usurp it.

  46. The question is, does Pope Francis have the clout in an increasingly secular Europe for his words to resonate.

  47. Criticism of European systems needs to be balanced with straightforward criticism of the corrupt regimes that create the problem in the first instance. The fault lies not with Italians on the refugee issue but with the corrupt nations of Africa that misuse Western aid and create refugees. I don't see boatloads of Italians trying to make their way to Libya.

  48. Being a Catholic I would much prefer to see Pope Francis focus on the numerous (& sometimes scandalous) issues inside His Own Church as opposed to meddling in the secular affairs of sovereign nations. When he is totally satisfied that the Church has fully recaptured its once lofty moral authority then & only then should he start to lecture others on how they should be conducting their business.

  49. I remember reading that in recent years, some US Catholic churches personally helped immigrants, offering food and shelter. This is only a stopgap solution, of course, but some European churches could offer the same kinds of help, if they're not already. The heart and soul of the church, as Pope Francis recognizes, is helping the destitute, whomever and wherever they are.

  50. The Number One help to give anyone who is poor and destitute is safe, reliable, universal and free birth control.

  51. It is interesting the Pope chooses to criticize capitalist market extremes on the continent that has the most humane and globally admired welfare states with some of the lowest income inequality and highest living standards.I also prefer Europe be seen as an old infertile grandmother then a global imperialist bully.The criticism of Europe in regards to migrants drowning is of course completely unjustified the drownings occur mostly outside Europes territorial waters.Despite the Popes grand ambitions the Med is not a European/Roman lake and we are not responsible to act as its coastguard.It also ignores the hundreds of thousands safed and given shelter by European countries.

  52. The way to increase welfare is to create money by fiat rather than borrowing and to provide quality education. Such quality education could begin by the pope criticizing the bad parts of the Bible and the bad church ceremonies. In other words "getting the beam out of his eye" and seeing his church as civilized people who respect human life see it.

  53. Why don't the Pope open the doors of the Vatican. It is what the socialists are doing in France with the negative effects that everybody knows.
    Hundreds of billions of dollars have been given to Africa with almost no result because of the incredible corruption in those countries.
    The problem is not in Europe but in Africa.
    Europe has the right of protecting its living standards which didn't come overnight but are the result of centuries of hard labor.
    The pope has no lessons to give to Europe. Europe doesn't want to become the New Africa. Sorry.

  54. Excuse me? "the result of centuries of hard labor"? Europe has the economic freedoms it has today due to the centuries of colonial expansion and exploitation, including the African continent, which depended on violently disrupting local political, social and economic systems. Europe is not going to become the "New Africa." Africa is going to become the New Africa.

  55. Forget about the Pope, then. 4% of Europeans are foreign born. That puts it right up there with such desirable destinations as the Dominican Republic,
    Burkina Faso, and Turkmenistan. Enough said.

  56. C. Cain: Liberia has never been a colony and has been an independent country for 200 years, eight to ten generations.

    Next excuse?

  57. Pope Francis is certainly voicing a needed point of view, and one that is fundamental to the Christian faith. This is GOOD. Yet, as reported in this article, he may appear as an outsider (and he is in a sense, as an Argentinian) offering advice as such. I hope he continues to speak with the tone of this message, and that in doing so he communicates an understand ing of the strong European roots of the Roman Catholic Church. And because of those roots, he must acknowledge that while the Church may or may not be part of the problem he describes, it must see itself as an active participant in rectifying European policy regarding these particular social issues.

  58. The church could do great service to humanity by not encouraging women in dire poverty to have as many children as possible, and pressuring lawmakers the world over to deny women contraceptive services. Why does the church think there are so many refugees in the first place?

  59. Upsss...I msot have been living in Mars for the last 50 years...I thought the US has been the strongest force against family planning in the third world after WW2.......you know...more people...more workers...more workers...lower wages and higher consumer spending...lower wages and higher consumer spending...higher profitability....is it bad for the environment and the climate ??? noooo....dont worry...be happy...let our great grandchildren deal with that...every generation has had its challanges...let them have theirs..

  60. Once I heard a Catholic school principal say about evolution: "If the Pope does not have anything against it, neither do I."

    Well, by the same token, I am assuming all American Catholics are right in favor of the President's Immigration Executive Order, right? It would seem that the Pope wholeheartedly approves. Oh, and remember, "in the matters of the Church, the Pope is infallible because he is receiving his inspiration directly from God." Dona Marcia, my religion teacher in parochial school.

    Nobody said that being a true Christian (as in, following Christ's teachings as they are spelled out in the Gospels IN QUOTES) is neither very easy nor very convenient.

  61. I don't doubt the virtue of lending a helping hand to others and be neighborly. I greatly admire those who are willing to do so. That said, a generalization that everyone, individuals and nation states, need to open its arms to whoever who want in to their countries and home, is a high ideal that is oft not rooted in reality.

    A more fitting analogy is for someone who can't swim to jump in the water to help others struggling in the water, which would end up having both the rescuer and rescuee dead because the rescuer can't even save himself.

    As the teaching and saying go, it's way better to teach someone how to fish, than to just feeding them. To stop the flooding in of those refugees, it's way better to help them stabilize their home country, than to simply take them all in and feed/clothe them.

  62. Yes, what about the Vatican selling off its vast resources and funding the economies of the African and Middle Eastern countries who are the sources of most of the fleeing immigrants to Europe.

  63. Perhaps if the pope cleaned out his own bureaucratic and dogmatically rigid closet over there at the Vatican first, it might then give the EU pause for thought. As it is, with all the baggage he's carrying, anything otherwise only reads hollow.

    Someone there in Rome that there's a book somewhere in their big library that touches on that subject, and perhaps he should read it occasionally rather than pretending to only preach from it.

  64. '...Europe had become too “fearful and self-absorbed,” and that it needed to recover its confidence and give “acceptance and assistance” to people fleeing war and poverty...'

    Let's try that again:

    The Catholic Church had become too “fearful and self-absorbed,” and that it needed to recover its confidence and give “acceptance and assistance” to people fleeing war and poverty.

  65. Ah nothing like advice from the Vatican, whose own environs remain culturally intact after a couple of thousand years . . .

    Unlike so many parts of formerly Judeo-Christian Europe, as western civilsation gets eaten by mass immigration and governments too stupid to see the cliff they are stepping off.

    Yes, let's open our arms to absolutely everyone . . . and then wonder why we have balkanised countries and identity politics, Britain littered with places like East London, Bradford, and Leicester, political parties too frightened of "multicultural" backlash to investigate repeated reports of ethnic grooming gangs preying on young girls, people feeling like foreigners in their own countries, and nonchalantly being asked to surrender their ancient cultures indiscriminately no matter how painful it is, or how much pressure is put on school places, housing, health services, and who pays for all that. . .

    Sorry, your Holiness - no deal.

  66. It's astonishing to me to read so many of the comments here, saturated with cynicism (the last refuge of those lacking imagination and resolve), holier than thou finger pointing, and veiled hostility. Apparently, no idea, or suggestion no matter it's merits, is worth consideration unless the Pope, within a matter of a year solve every other problem that plagues both the Vatican and mankind.
    Let's see...among other things, he suggests that Europe give “acceptance and assistance” to people fleeing war and poverty.
    and speaks to " a need to restore dignity to labor by ensuring proper working conditions.”
    Just when I thought the greatest crises affecting humanity in the long term may be global climate change, I begin to think there is something more dangerous... global jading which fogs the mind and makes it near impossible for good-hearted people to work together and find solutions to that which ails us

  67. Nothing ails me. There is no 'us'. I am under no obligation to make your problems my problems.

    If the Pope wants to do so, he can open his checkbook. He just can't have mine (well, unless he acquires an army).

  68. Extremely astute comment. The world (and even the climate) is what We make of it.

  69. I am sure the Vatican has the resources to follow their own advice.

  70. Maybe they do and maybe they don't but it's well established that societal problems are addressed most effectively when many parties buy into the goals.

  71. Tell me an organisation which can match Catholic Charities?

  72. John,
    The organization is called UNICEF and regardless of our religious and political beliefs, we keep these to ourselves, learn from each other with respect, while taking up the common cause for the children of this world.

  73. Wonderful. The NYT listens to the Pope's speech and gives us the headline "'Self-Absorbed' Europe Should Aid Refugees." Meanwhile the UK Telegraph gives the headline that the Pope "warns 'bureaucracy is crushing Europe.' Neither seem to give the Pope front-page attention when he warns about capitalism or greed.

    Look, if you only listen to people to hear what you already think, you're not going to get anywhere.

  74. It always looks good in writing. And I'm sure the Pope means well, after all, he is the POPE. But the sad reality is many European countries (ESPECIALLY ITALY!) are simply buckling under the weight of so many new immigrants, and they just can't keep apace.
    While it is understandable that many are fleeing war-torn areas, religious & political persecution, and poverty, it's just logistically impossible for Europe to absorb the populations of an entire continent!....And then, there's the Schengen Agreement, which has also sent citizens from less well-off European countries across the border to more the affluent ones, which results in burdening its citizens are left with higher taxes, decreased benefits and ever-rising living costs...pensions and fixed-incomes can only go so far!

    So, to all this I say, let the Pope address those very fortunate ultra-wealthy with bank accounts tucked away in off-shore accounts, and other safe hiding places, then shake down those Cardinals and other "officials" accustomed to living lifestyles their congregants can only dream about....and THEN, open the Vatican's bank vaults and expose them to the transparency and scrutiny that most financial institutions are legally subject to.
    I think that might be a good start in addressing the problem...Besides, it's Christmas!

  75. And if he were truly concerned about populations then he would use the wealth of the Vatican State to finance Planned Parenthood clinics, everywhere. "Pontiff of the poor"? Never seen it yet.

  76. I am prepared to give Pope Francis a break. The Vatican is a 2000-year old institution, and Pope Francis has been at its helm for less than two. It makes no sense to conflate Pope Francis with the Vatican or its past attitudes and positions.

    The Pope continues to push for change, and appears already to have made some very significant ones within the Vatican.

    As Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina the present Pope had shown extraordinary empathy, and practical support, for the poor, the addicted, and the forgotten. When he chose the name Francis upon becoming Pope, I do not believe it was an empty, PR-propelled gesture. If one isn't familiar with Saint Francis, one is in the dark about one of the greatest humanists ever.

    There is no other world-leader of stature today who has been speaking as forcefully, as consistently, for those desperately trying to flee poverty and war.

    Ashis Gupta
    Calgary, Canada

  77. I have given up bothering about anything said by an emissary of a mythology-based belief system; in this case, a belief system that has spent most its existence actively engaged in the extermination of its perceived enemies (including Mr. Science and Mr. Reason). Let the Pope spend the Church's money on the problem; sell a few old paintings, the market is high right now.

  78. So why comment at all then?

    Walk away if you're uninterested.

    This space is for people who want an intelligent conversation on the topic at hand.

    Your jadedness is irrelevant and unwelcome here.

  79. That's ad hominem. The questions are, are the words right? Is he getting attention? Does he have credibility? Might positive change follow? It really doesn't matter who says it, any path to a good end is fine regardless of the point of view from which it originates.

  80. The Pope's family emigrated to Argentina, as thousands of Europeans emigrated to South America, and North America. History repeats itself. This time, it is the turn of Europe to do the same.

  81. I haven't seen too many refugees being taken by the Vatican, a nation state. I believe there's lot's of rooms at the inn.

  82. How many refugees do you expect in 110 acre land?. Instead of judging while comfortably drinking a beer in your room, why don't you look how many Orphanages, Universities, schools and old care centers run by close to 1 million Catholic priests and nuns are running? 1/3rd of them in developing countries.

  83. Feel saddened by the many negative comments, stridently negative comments, 25 in the first 27 submitted, of which the majority do not reflect full or even partial truth.G
    As a young Canadian, I eagerly studied your exciting and courageous history, such a contrast, we all thought then, to our own.
    As a Catholic I am aware of the impact this very imperfect church has had upon the culture of Europe and in both of our countries in establishing many of the first schools, social services and hospitals.
    God well knows that we people of faith fail more often than not. He does ask that we accompany and provide for the needy, and this has been done. Also without faith hearts and minds become hard, and faith alone brings deep healing.
    It is so good that so many take part in free and open debate like this, but points surely can't stand when they are based upon error.
    Still love America!!

  84. Not sure the Pope understands immigration creates so many problems. How are Somalians going integrate into Scandinavia. No way even though they are given everything free, personally I've heard frightening stories of harassment and other serious criminal behavior. It doesn't work and instead all should work to assist their home countries improve and not to bring their problems to Europe. If not, more anger against them will occur.

  85. Sheesh, given that the Vatican is a state, the next significant move this pope can make is to use it's not for profit status and start ponying up. It's global contributions should also reflect the guidelines set by the UN Millenium Goals of .7% income.

  86. This pope needs to put the billions of dollars under the control of the Vatican to work to help the Africans....in Africa, thanks

    He can also stop lecturing the EU taxpayer (which believe me is burdened quite enough at the moment) on how to spend public money. The best way to help these Africans is to ensure none of them are able to get on a boat in the first place.

  87. And maybe the first step to stop them from getting on that boat is for European nations to transfer prosperity and wealth to the countries they colonized, looted and artificially configured into the fractured entities they are today.

    It's easy to make sweeping comments. Think before you speak.

  88. Do you spend ur life in Africa feeding the poor?.Or are u ignorant enough to know that Catholics are working in Africa for centuries.

  89. What assistance is the self-absorbed Vatican offering to refugees? Seems to me the Catholic church owns quite a bit of property, quit a bit of lucre, and could certainly do more with it than build palatial homes for its Bishops and Cardinals.

  90. "Seems to me the Catholic church owns quite a bit of property, quit a bit of lucre, and could certainly do more with it..." Yes, it is doing quite a bit with its money. That is why the Church is one of the largest (if not the largest) charitable organizations on the planet.

    "... than build palatial homes for its Bishops and Cardinals." Yes, that is why Francis has made combating corruption and overspending a priority of his tenure. Google Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst for just one prominent example.

  91. Instead of passing ignorant comments , why don't you look it up what Catholics are doing to Africa?

  92. John,
    My heart missed a beat as I read your comment. Born in New York, baptized a Catholic and brought up in France, Ireland and Spain by nuns, my friend from Senegal and I work together for the good of the children world-wide. A devout Muslim and a pillar of faith in God, she goes to temple on Fridays and always includes me in her prayers. We share a spiritual understanding, a strong one, and today she wrote briefly how hard she was working for the countries affected by Ebola, the countries that have been given over to her to protect, and our staff members working there. Whatever are Catholics doing today to harm Africa?

  93. It's unfortunate that so many are ready to shoot the messenger that they don't hear the message. Europeans complain a lot about immigration and their open borders despite the fact that their overall immigration rate is one of the lowest in the free world. Germany and others have a guest worker system that allows them to get the benefit of cheap labor without the burden of granting citizenship. Many European countries have neo-Nazi anti-immigration parties whose beliefs show signs of seeping into the mainstream. Romas are the subject of extreme prejudice. Turks have been in Germany for decades and yet intermarriage rates remain low. Muslim women can't wear head scarves in France even if the scarves are high fashion. The Jews are gone. Few non-natives are allowed in. On the whole, it's pretty shameless, and you don't have to be the Pope to see that European xenophobia is alive and well.

  94. Finally, someone who tells the TRUTH about Europe.

    Class envy breeds socialism which leads to poverty and finally to self-destruction. It's not how this country was built and it's not how China has become prosperous.

    The Pope scolding the Europeans. It's about time he does the same thing here...

    Priceless.

  95. He plans to visit us in the New Year and for this American, it will be the Season of Thanksgiving.

  96. I know of many in our society who may stop his coming to our shores, even in the Catholic Church. God's people are everywhere Catholics and non-Catholics.

  97. The majority of the comments on this article are quite frightening to me. Have we become so jaded and cynical that we view anyone who wasn't born in a country with high living standards or into the middle class is somehow less deserving of the same opportunities as anyone else. the message the pope is putting forth is one of acceptance and equality, yet all I see on here is selfish and xenophobic comments bashing his message.

  98. Thank you for your courage to see the real message behind
    the words.

  99. "...acceptance and equality ..."
    Except for females, Andrew.

  100. "European Parliament, which maintains huge premises and staffs in ...Brussels, has itself become an emblem of the waste and detachment from ordinary people’s concerns..."

    Sounds like Washington, D.C.

  101. Sounds like the Vatican State.

  102. As I read these comments I have to ponder the zeitgeist from which they emerge. The pope has some strong messages for powerful people, hoping for higher moral standards in policy-making that affects many millions of actual living breathing human beings. But these wholesale rejections of those ideas and the person delivering them suggests the malaise is universal. If that point of view comes to dominate all public discourse - as it has in the US - there is no hope for this world because no one is standing up for hope.

    If *no one* is credible except the individual to himself only, there can be no new ideas, no leadership, no sense of right and wrong, no progress (except in expensive toys which are in limitless demand). This does not have to be based in religious tenets, just in the human heart and mind. Maybe that's the real problem; the heart and mind no longer play an influential role in public (low taxes!) or private actions (more profits!). Sure, that's cause for despair but not an excuse for inaction.

  103. Pretty sad in here. A bunch of atheist 'progressives' (redundant, I know) angry at anyone with faith and anyone with a plan of his own.

    Isn't it time you look at your OWN lives before you comment on the actions of our leaders?

  104. Church didn't start immigration system. The secular left politics did it in order to match their declining native population. Don't expect Church to have a blind eye on poor immigrants, who risk their life to come to Europe.

  105. I love the Holy Father, but I worry about the Human cost of illegal immigration.

    I wonder how many people die each year attempting to cross the Mediterranean in rickety boats. By allowing immigration in this hazardous fashion, Western Nations are condoning this mode of transport. In fact it is encouraged, by successful examples of immigration. However a significant fraction inevitably drown.

    Is it ethical for the Western Nations to accept immigrants arriving illegally by boat? By doing so, they encourage more migration and more death. It may be ethically more sound to follow the example of Australia by stating that immigration by boat is not tolerated, and guaranteed to ensure that they are disqualified from entry. This has worked effectively for Australia which has stopped water borne entry.

  106. I understand that yours is a long-term view and your intention is to save lives. But people are faced with a choice when a boatload of refugees comes to their shores - and most find it impossible to look them in the eyes and send the women, children and men back to further travails or, even, death. They come on boats because they are desperate - and wealthy westerners generally are soft-hearted enough to offer them succor.

    The answer, then, is to help the situation in their homelands, no easy task given entrenched poverty, political corruption and dictatorship. But that is what a good society does -- dig deep to unroot the real problem.

    Too often we don't. We have our problems, too, but in many places within western nations the problems are things like too much traffic and high interests rates on credit cards.

    I am an ex-Catholic, but I recognize and appreciate the Pope's moral, human message. The "sell the jewels" crowd offers nothing -- that is no more a long-term solution than it would be to sell your suburban home and give the proceeds to a soup kitchen, a temporary reprieve.

    There is no alternative but a long, costly, difficult (perhaps futile) effort to improve the third world. Turning away boats and blaming the church are too easy.

  107. We can, and we shall do better. The better for a holy man in Rome, the better for a compassionate and firm spiritual leader, the better for the Pope. If there is one human on earth that I would walk miles for in the desert, it would be for Papa Francesco.

  108. I think most of us like this guy whether we voted for his "party" or not. At a time when the worlds worst "death cult" is attracting thousands to its ranks, it is comforting to have Francis out there fighting the good fight and talking the good talk. Great men of faith rise above petty sectarianism to inspire all mankind. Francis is such a man inspired by God to lead us by example and love at a time when he is most needed. Baruch Hashem!

  109. Pope Francis's message of the dignity of human life and the responsibility of those that have to help those that have not is the core message of the Christain faith and the fundamental principle that binds together the sovereign states that comprise the European Union. The EU will survive by adhering to this principle and will disolve through the self absorbed acrimony among the various peoples of which it is composed. The vision of a Europe at peace is in danger of being replaced by the renewal of the ancient patterns of conflict. Clearly the Pope's message needs to be reframed to apply beyond Europe. Europe cannot absorb Africa which is forecast to exceed 2 billion people by 2050. Clearly hundreds of millions of jobs must be created in Africa so that there is no longer an ever growing flood of refugees. Millions of unemployed young men are easily motivated to fight and to militant causes that give them a sense of meaning. Africa has begun to grow and its growth rate is forecast to be the fastest of any continent in the world. Greater integration of Africa, a stronger African Union is key to reducing the extent of conflict and to building the infrastructure that can lead to the growth in jobs that is part of the long range solution to the problem. An integrated EU can as a priority encouraged more trade and greater investment in Africa that would simultaneously create jobs in both Europe and in Africa. If Africa is growing its best and brightest will stay.

  110. I very strongly support all you have proposed here. African nations have far more to live on than go around the world begging or dying in the Mediterranean Cemetery a la Pope Francis.

    If only the African nations were transformed into veritable representative nations of the the people in them that have the political and economic will to transform the scourges of poverty,health freedom, and civil society the Mediterranean will cease to be a cemetery for weary Africans and become the African link to Europe by sea of mutual support at a symmetric level and not otherwise.

  111. Oh dear. Pope, pope, pope. No, Europe is not required to destroy itself because Africa will not solve its own problems.

    Escape from North Africa is not the solution. Fixing North Africa is the solution.

    Europe is a huge provider of aid for African reform. But Africans themselves have to make it happen.

    Europe is elderly and haggard? Are you sure you're not talking about the Catholic Church, dear Popie? Step inside a church during mass sometime. Your anti-women, regressive church has caused lots of out-migration, just like Africa. Religionist, heal thyself.

    The pope is a shining example of the good reason for separation of church and state. He should mind his shrinking religous flock, give god what is gods, and keep his nose out of Europe's business. .

  112. What a lame excuse to doing the right thing as the Pope prays Europe to do!

    Africa is at its present state because, although purported independent at least 90 percent African states are tele-guided from Europe causing to the pain and suffering of the mass as a few political and administrative elites serve as surrogates of Europe to maintain the status quo.

    The poor running away from African countries are running away from systemic political and economic conditions that disfavors them. The beneficiaries of status quo in Africa are Europeans and African elites. Laughing at those running away from such systems is most unkind.

  113. Let the pope first put his own house in order and then he can start critising others.

  114. Very bad posting. This Pope is doing his very best to put his own house in order, like no other b efore him. You are being extremely unfair.

  115. I think Pope Francis is wonderful and has a real concern for the poor. He talks the talk and walks the walk. Talk about calling the kettle black, I think you are being very critical of my beloved Pope.

  116. The Pope's house is the world. So he was speaking in his house. Any part of the world is his house.

  117. While the majority of leadership across the world has lost its way, we now have a Pope who is fearless in speaking the truth.
    While most world leaders speak and act to be popular to their national or interest-group, this Pope speaks the truth, even if if is unpopular among the rich and powerful.
    This Pope is among the very few world leaders, who gives hope. Most other leaders have buried their heads in the sand, and go about business as usual, with no consideration or compassion for the neatly 1 billion in extreme poverty, starvation and disease.
    The Pope has spoken out against the rising inequality, while other world leaders don't even seem to acknowledge the pain, suffering and the extreme unrest that it is already causing across the world. Inequality will be the greatest destabilizing factor the world will experience.
    While world leaders are pressured to protect their chairs, by promoting decisions favorable for the rich, the Pope has been outspoken to the concerns of the poor.
    Truly, Pope Francis is a Pope who gives hope !

  118. Isn't it splendid we have someone of authority in the church speaking of the hardships of this life and not the promise of the next life. I believe he doesn't give a hoot if a "leader" is a non-believer, just so long as he/she looks after the least of our inhabitants.
    And before I hear the yelling about my choice of words, I am sure his vocation, his personal belief does oblige him to care. To care about everyone; so settle down......

  119. Here in the UK most people I know want to leave the EU. I share that view as well. The main reason, because it is a bureaucratic not a democratic organisation and it is remote from the reality that affects ordinary people.

  120. Religion has no place in this world unless it can face criticism, too. For all too many decades, centuries, the church of Rome has claimed its due; undeserved and singular payment for dispensation.
    You bet! There is a human difficulty in Europe as in the rest of the world. If the church of Rome is so convinced of its infallibility on this subject it should stick to saving souls. The "slave masters" as described have always been with us as have the poor. Until that human suffering can be stopped zip will change and prayers will fall unheard or appreciated. So, not to belittle, what problem has religion ever solved?
    We have watched and read of religion fueling thousands of combat engagements in the past and by the looks of things it can't be stopped.
    Put that in your prayers, but keep your weapons loaded and ready....

  121. Did he really compare Europe to an infertile grandmother?
    Look, Pope Francis, get it straight how to talk about women. Rule One: If you are not talking about real, live, actual human being females then don't talk about us. And don't talk about us unless you have something decent to say. "Her" and "she" are bad enough when used to describe inanimate objects - for instance, Europe or the Catholic Church - but females are not inanimate objects nor are we an increasingly unequal state or a church that insists that we retain the inferior status that Paul demanded we be subjected to.

    Enough, already. This "no longer fertile or vibrant" human being is revolted by such a mindless insult, such a usual insult, such a low and common insult. No, Francis, you have not changed this church at all, nor shall you.

  122. Amen, Rosa! Good for you. This was also my reaction to that clueless metaphor. Francis may be a sweet guy generally, but every time he speaks about women, he makes me cringe.

  123. I am so sorry that Francis apparently did not have a vital, vibrant grandmother. I had some very dynamic examples of mature women in my life and hope I am the same to my children and grandchildren. The ending of my ability to reproduce did not define me or lessen me. But certainly it is typical of a representative of the Catholic Church to make reference to a woman's worth being dependent on her ability to get pregnant. Another papal "open mouth, insert foot" moment.

  124. "Infertile" and "not vibrant" because some of us are of a certain age and time in life? Over 60 is not a time of sitting back. Lots of us are raising grandkids, still working outside the home, volunteering, and doing a whole lot of other things and are not inactive. Over 60s are living and doing.
    Shame on you, Your Holiness. Your own beloved grandmothers are rolling in their graves.
    Rest of speech was OK.

  125. As a critic of the church I have to admit Pope Paul-- cardinal Bergoglio for Brazilians and Argentinians -- has conquered my admiration and respect.

    Pope Paul's mission has already been accomplished many times over. The Roman Catholic Church -- as an exclusive Italian-European club -- is over. The church is finally back on track of its fundamental mission statement.

  126. As a critic, you fail. Francis will do. Get it right and maybe your criticism will be taken seriously..

  127. Never ever agreed with a Catholic Pope but this one seems to have his head on straight unlike Europe's and the Americas' government leaders.

  128. The speech Pope Francis made in Strasbourg was more symbolic than material. It has hardly knocked some sense into the bureaucrats. Their institution is no longer seen as a beacon of hope by many young unemployed.

  129. Western Europe is lost, but the bad news is that the U.S. is racing down the Euro-path quickly. While plenty of wealth remains, the spirit is failing. Speaking the truth will be attacked by many.

  130. The problem for Francis is that when he speaks, he speaks for the Catholic Church. A church that has been and remains a contender for political influence in Europe. When last the Roman Catholic Church had the power to influence the political direction of Europe it used that authority to endorse and support the Facsist regimes that destroyed Europe. The post war response across the continent was to reject the Caesarian impulse of the Chuch and to a large extent religion itself. The powerful conflicting sentiments about this after the war allowed the institution of the Church to avoid directly confronting that reality. I believe Francis is a good man, and to a far greater extent than his predecessors, a courageous man. The real compelling story and moral that only this man could make would be that which illuminates how a hide-bound bureaucracy can become blind to every condition other than those which threaten it's own privilege.

  131. The Pope speaks with real moral authority regarding the refugee problem. As for Europe, I just got back from living in France for several years and I can tell you that many French, atheist or not, believe it is over for French culture until it recovers a sense of the transcendent. There is a belief that the current French cultural malaise derives from the fact that many people no longer believe in anything. One doesn't have to be a theist but one should believe in something greater than oneself.

  132. Any relationship between the "African Americans," which as a whole in over a hundred years have not acculturated and assimilated into American society, and the immigrants who besiege Europe? Guess I'm not suppose to pose the question. We're not ready for it? No answers. We should just ignore the problems and assume that with more time and money the problem will cease.

  133. Many black people here would say there is definitely an African-American way to be an American. Is there an African way to be French?

  134. "Any relationship between the "African Americans," which as a whole in over a hundred years have not acculturated and assimilated into American society..." First acculturated and assimilated means the same things, so not sure why you said it twice, unless you are trying to sound smarter than you really are. Most likely you don't even reside in the U.S., so you have no idea what you are talking about. I shouldn't have to tell anyone that what you see in the media doesn't reflect what's happening in the U.S. as a whole.