Pope: weapons manufacturers who call themselves Christians are hypocrites June 23, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Christendom, disconcerting, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, persecution, pr stunts, rank stupidity, scandals, secularism, Society, the return, the struggle for the Church.
So…….they have that going for them. I’ll preface the post by saying this explosive comment as quoted below is confirmed by Zenit in its entirety. In fact, I’m going to switch from the Reuters report below to Zenit as I go along, so you can get see the quote in context.
I really don’t know what to say anymore, this comes from the endless stream of off-the-cuff, rambling discourses made after the Pope spikes his prepared text, in this case, in Turin. Blanket condemnations like these lacking any distinction or apparent charity for those concerned have been the hallmark of this papacy. This kind of statement is not only imprudent, it approaches calumny. Weapons of all kinds are tools and while they may be unpopular in certain quarters (especially among progressives, whose distaste for weaponry is only exceeded by their ignorance of it) simply designing, building, and selling them cannot be said to be immoral. It depends entirely on the circumstances:
People who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian, Pope Francis said on Sunday.
Francis issued his toughest condemnation to date of the weapons industry at a rally of thousands of young people at the end of the first day of his trip to the Italian city of Turin.
“If you trust only men you have lost,” he told the young people in a long, rambling talk about war, trust and politics after putting aside his prepared address.
“It makes me think of … people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit a distrust, doesn’t it?” he said to applause.
OK, so here I cut to Zenit, for the entire quote:
It makes me think one thing: people, leaders, entrepreneurs that call themselves Christians, and produce arms! This gives some mistrust: they call themselves Christians! “No, no, Father, I don’t produce them, no, no …. I only have my savings, my investments in arms factories.” Ah! And why? “Because the interest is somewhat higher …” And a double face is also a current coin today: to say something and do another. Hypocrisy…….[That’s a pretty nasty little comment about being two faced. He immediately segues into genocides (Armenia, Jews in WWII), as if the arms manufacturers somehow precipitated them.]
Now back to Reuters:
He also criticised those who invest in weapons industries, saying “duplicity is the currency of today … they say one thing and do another”.
Francis also built on comments he has made in the past about events during the first and second world wars.
He spoke of the “tragedy of the Shoah,” using the Hebrew term for the Holocaust.
“The great powers had the pictures of the railway lines that brought the trains to the concentration camps like Auschwitz to kill Jews, Christians, homosexuals, everybody. Why didn’t they bomb (the railway lines)?”
OK, no offense to His Holiness, but his comments are internally contradictory. He makes plain in this last quote that military force/weaponry CAN do good things. He claims the Allies were bad for not bombing the railways to the concentration camps. There were many reasons for not doing so, which I won’t go into now, but the matter is not so simple as Pope Francis makes it out to be.
And what if they had? The Germans were past masters at overcoming the effects of incredibly heavy bombing. Reading the biography of Kurt von Schuschnigg makes clear that even in 1945 the trains ran nearly on time, with only periodic delays to repair tracks that were cut by bombing (which were usually repaired in hours if not minutes). The point being, the Allies could have bombed the railroad tracks till they were blue in the face and it would have had only the slightest of impacts on the death toll in those camps, but it would have had a very negative impact on the main goal of the war – the defeat of Nazi Germany. In fact, such a campaign could have prolonged the war and led to MORE deaths, not fewer. All this criticism of the Allies for their failure to “do something” about the death camps is just so much after the fact liberal hand-wringing with more than a tinge of moral superiority. The Allies did in fact do much to stop the killings in the death camps, by invading and conquering Germany at the earliest possible moment. That was the only really effective way to stop the attempted extermination of the Jews.
There is an aspect of tragedy about this Pope. Moments before he made these silly, reflexively progressive statements about arms manufacturers, he have a really very moving exegesis on the virtue of chastity. It was very good, but it is also completely forgotten and ignored, washed away in the media firestorm over these strange statements the Pope seems incapable of restraining himself from making. The good this Pope says or does gets washed away in the constant stream of media-friendly, progressive-friendly rhetoric.
As to his more general comments on the arms industry, others have already pointed out instances where military force and armaments have certainly been used for moral good. Goodness, the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity was marked by a decisive military victory.
I think this is yet another instance where Francis’ provincialism really shows. The military has been persona non grata in Argentina since 1983 when the last of the juntas fell. Due to their role in the ugly shadow civil war that gripped Argentina (initiated by attempted marxist takeover of the country) for decades prior, the military is viewed highly unfavorably by a large majority of Argentines, especially those associated with the Peronist camp (which, ironies never cease: Peron came to power through military coups, being an army general, and the present government is hardly innocent when it comes to use of force against dissent). Argentina has almost no arms industry to speak of (though I did get a nice gun from BERSA recently). There once was a decent sized one, but as part of the general falling out of favor of all things military it has been allowed to collapse. This lack of respect for the armed forces is a pretty common feature of Latin American life, since the military in most of those countries is used much more to deal with internal threats rather than external ones.
So Pope Francis comes from a milieu that sees the military as populated by sickos who want to work their fantasies of violence on innocents, and armaments as the tools they use to do so. It is the polar opposite of how most people in the Anglosphere tend to view the military, with a 3 or 400 year history of its use primarily to deal with foreign threats rather than as a tool to crush internal dissent.
The tragedy of Francis’ provincialism is that contra a much more cosmopolitan Pope like Benedict XVI or John Paul II, Pope Francis seems to have a great deal of difficulty expanding his worldview beyond his own narrow experience. He views the world from a profoundly Argentine, but even more, Peronist viewpoint, with all the biases and limitations that implies. He seems to have a great deal of difficulty recognizing that other people have had radically different experiences with whatever – the military, capitalism, technology, industrialization – aspect of society he wants to decry, and that their experience gives them a very different appreciation of these matters. And since so many of these matters he gets exercised about, from how to deal with ostensible global warming to the right conduct of the arms trade, are matters of prudence, he winds up casting an awful lot of people out of the Church for what are disagreements on prudential matters.
I feel bad for my many friends who serve in the military or work for Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Vought, General Dynamics, Bell Helicopter, and many other places. This is surely a a discomfiting thing for them to hear. Given how many people attracted to the TLM work in these kinds of industries, I hope some good traditional priest can give a sermon that sets the record straight on the morality of being employed in such endeavors. I’ve tried a a bit above, but I’m neither a theologian or priest, and so my response is necessarily limited.
And so the sadness continues. A little more Pope coverage today, then I’m going to take a break for a while, barring any really momentous events.