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A Delusional Address for a Delusional Award

by Christopher A. Ferrara
May 11, 2016

Not a week goes by without Francis being the center of attention in the Catholic world. First of all, because he is the Pope, but above all because his pontificate is an event-driven affair that moves from one “hot” story to another, like a hurricane that needs to find warm waters lest it lose force and dissipate.

Thus, on May 6 Francis was feted by the powers that be in Germany, who conferred upon him the Charlemagne Prize of Aachen at the Vatican.  I will let Antonio Socci explain just how ludicrous this award was:  “The award of the Charlemagne Prize to Pope Bergoglio induces hilarity.  It would be like awarding the Saint Thomas Aquinas Prize to Eugenio Scalfari.” 

Scalfari, the notorious atheist and confident of Francis, whose interviews of the voluble pontiff have repeatedly rocked the Catholic world with scandal, is as far from the Angelic Doctor as Francis is from Charlemagne the Great, the first Holy Roman Emperor of a Christian civilization which had to defend itself again and again from the onslaught of Islam.

Francis’ address at the awards ceremony demonstrates the delusion that afflicts both the presenter and the recipient of the award.  Resolutely oblivious to the Islamic invasion of a post-Christian Europe, Francis exhorted the European leaders in attendance to “build bridges and tear down walls.”  The rest of the address was likewise an exercise in political correctness, with Francis rewriting the history of Christendom as “the constant need to integrate in new syntheses the most varied and discrete cultures.”  According to Francis: “The identity of Europe is, and always has been, a dynamic and multicultural identity.”

Utterly false.  Until its final collapse under President Truman’s tank treads at the end of World War II, Christendom was united in a single Christian culture, even if it exhibited ethnic variations among the various Christian peoples of Europe.  “Multiculturalism,” on the other hand, is a watchword of political modernity. As Socci notes, it serves as a “mask for relativism, often anti-Christian hatred and above all the open door to Islamicization.”

But on and on Francis goes with his railing against “walls,” blissfully ignorant of the historical reality (noted by Socci) that it was precisely walls — literal stone walls — that held back the Muslim hordes during the siege of Vienna in 1683, when the great John III Sobieski beat back the invaders against all odds and saved Western Europe from the fate of the Eastern Empire, wherein the Muslims had conquered Constantinople, which became Istanbul, and turned the Hagia Sofia into a mosque.  If not for “walls,” writes Socci, “today we would all be Turks…” 

The closest Francis comes to mentioning that Europe was once Christian is his remark that “Only a Church rich in witnesses will be able to bring back the pure water of the Gospel to the roots of Europe.”  But even here, delusion creeps in: “In this enterprise, the path of Christians towards full unity is a great sign of the times and a response to the Lord’s prayer ‘that they may all be one’ (Jn 17:21).” 

How is it possible for a rational observer to look upon the state of the Protestant sects today and see in them a movement toward unity with the Catholic Church?  Or perhaps Francis meant to say that under his leadership, and in line with the past fifty years of ecclesial drift in the name of “ecumenical dialogue,” the Catholic Church is moving toward unity with the Protestant denominations in their moral and doctrinal decrepitude.  Here, humanly speaking, Francis has a point.

What does any of this politically correct babble have to do with Charlemagne the Great?  Absolutely nothing, of course.  A deluded Europe gives a deluded Pope an award for presiding, along with Europe’s secular leaders, over the destruction of the very thing Charlemagne fought to build and defend: Christendom. Thus, Francis did not tell his audience that Europe must undergo a recovery of Christian culture in order to save itself from destruction. On the contrary, aside from a little “watering” in the form of “ecumenical” witness, this was his prescription for a return to the past:

“Such a ‘memory transfusion’ can enable us to draw inspiration from the past in order to confront with courage the complex multipolar framework of our own day and to take up with determination the challenge of ‘updating’ the idea of Europe. A Europe capable of giving birth to a new humanism based on three capacities: the capacity to integrate, the capacity for dialogue and the capacity to generate.

If there is one word that we should never tire of repeating, it is this: dialogue. We are called to promote a culture of dialogue by every possible means and thus to rebuild the fabric of society. The culture of dialogue entails a true apprenticeship and a discipline that enables us to view others as valid dialogue partners, to respect the foreigner, the immigrant and people from different cultures as worthy of being listened to.”

What can one say except God help us?