Friday, February 19, 2016

Building Walls

Well. Pope Francis has decreed that anyone who wants to build a wall across America's southern border is no Christian. Christians don't build walls, they build bridges, the Pope has pontificated. A lot of people have interpreted his remarks to be aimed at Donald Trump who avers that he will build a wall, but actually most of the Republican candidates want to build the wall (or a fence) and so do a lot of other Americans who no doubt resent a Catholic Pope casting aspersions on their faith.

Francis' criticism is especially hard to take because, as many have already observed, he himself lives in the security afforded him by a massive wall whose size to be seen to be appreciated, a wall that almost encircles all of Vatican City.

Vatican Wall

Not only does the pope criticize Americans for wanting the same control over who comes into their country as he enjoys, but the Vatican has some of the strictest immigration and citizenship laws in the world.

Moreover, as far as I know, Vatican City is housing none of the Syrian refugees. They have plenty of space in St. Peter's Square and lots of space in the papal gardens that could be used for this purpose. Why doesn't the Holy Father insist that shelters be erected and refugees be allowed into these spaces where they can be fed and clothed?

Wouldn't you think that people who publicly disparage the sincerity of the Christianity of those who want to control who and how many immigrants are accepted into their country be themselves more assiduous in exhibiting the virtues they find lacking in those they criticize? Particularly if, like Pope Francis, they've been praised in the past for admitting that they're not in a position to pass judgment on others?