Recently, Pope Francis made eye-raising comments about firearms and the Holocaust during a disjointed address that made many question whether or not the 78-year-old head of the Catholic Church is suffering from either ignorance or senility.
And thanks to you, Sara, passionate about theater. Thank you. “I think of Jesus’ words: To give one’s life.” We spoke about this now. “Often we breathe a sense of mistrust in life.” Yes, because there are situations that make us think: “But, is it worthwhile to live like this? What can I expect from this life?” We think, in this way, of wars. Sometimes I have said that we are living the Third World War, but in pieces. In pieces: there is war in Europe, there is war in Africa, there is war in the Middle East, there is war in other countries … But, can I have confidence in such a life? Can I trust the world leaders? When I go to give my vote for a candidate, can I trust that he won’t lead my country into war? If you only trust men, you have lost!
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 …l But let’s see what happened in the last century: in ’14, ’15, in ’15 in fact. There was that great tragedy in Armenia. So many died. I don’t know the figure: more than a million certainly. But where were the great powers of the time? Were they looking elsewhere? Why? Because they were interested in war: their war! And those that died were persons, second class human beings. Then, in the 30s and 40s the tragedy of the Shoah. The great powers had photographs of the railroad lines that took trains to the concentration camps, such as Auschwitz, to kill the Jews, and also Christians, also the Roma, also homosexuals, to kill them there. But tell me, why didn’t they bomb that? Interest! And shortly after, almost contemporaneously, were the lager in Russia: Stalin … How many Christians suffered, were killed! The great powers divided Europe among themselves as a cake. So many years had to pass before arriving at “certain” freedom. It’s that hypocrisy of speaking of peace and producing arms, and even selling arms to this one who is at war with that one, and to that one who is at war with this one!
There are essentially two separate and disjointed claims in Francis’s rambling address, and we’ll tackle the second one first, that there was some sort of conspiracy among the Allies to avoid bombing the rail lines that took victims to the concentration camps, specifically the death camps located deep inside Poland.
Put bluntly, it is a horrible and perfidious claim.
Apparently they don’t have maps in the Vatican, nor any idea of the range of bomber aircraft available to the Allies in the Second World War. Auschwitz, Treblinka, and the other dedicated extermination camps deep inside Poland were hundreds of miles beyond the range of B-17s, B-24s, Lancasters and Halifax heavy bombers launching from bases in England.
The Allies had no airbases on the European continent until very late in the war (after July, 1944), and even then, there were a finite number of resources, and Allied commanders felt that the best use of their limited bomber fleet to save lives on all sides was to attack military targets and destroy the German ability to fight, hastening the end of the war. The high-altitude strategic bombers lacked the precision to reliably hit a target less than five feet wide, and damage to rail lines was easily repaired.
This Pope’s assertion that the Allies were complicit in allowing the Nazi death camps to function is vile.
Almost as vile was Francis’ assertion that firearms manufacturers are somehow bad Christians.
He somehow seems to be unaware of the Vatican’s own teachings on armed self defense and the Catholic belief of just war doctrine, nor does he seem to grasp that his own private army, the Swiss Guards, have armories full of real assault rifles, submachine guns, and other firearms to protect the Vatican, and his person.
Perhaps it’s time to encourage this aging pontiff to search retirement, and seek a younger man with a firmer mind and a better grasp of both history, and the enshrined beliefs of the Catholic Church he so clearly doesn’t understand.