Pope Francis Issues Call for United Europe

By Mark A. Kellner
Posted August 12, 2019

In another headline-making interview, Pope Francis, leader of the world’s 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church, called for a European Union in which sovereignty takes a back seat to unity. He especially warned against populist politics.

Speaking with La Stampa (text in Italian), an Italian daily newspaper based in Turin, Francis declared that the latest wave of populist politicians in Europe are offering “an attitude of isolation,” adding, “I am worried because we hear speeches that resemble those of Hitler in 1934.”

The pontiff decried the emphasis some European politicians place on the sovereignty of their nations over the demands or needs of a united Europe: “Sovereignty is closure. A country must be sovereign, but not closed. Sovereignty must be defended, but relations with other countries and with the European Community must also be protected and promoted. [Nationalism] is an exaggeration that always ends badly: it leads to wars,” Francis said.

The comments about nationalism came, The Washington Post reported, during a week in which Matteo Salvini, Italy’s deputy prime minister and its “most powerful politician,” called for “snap elections that could make Italy’s government lean even further right.” The pontiff did not call out Salvini by name, but the Post was quick to make the connection, noting tensions between the two over the treatment of migrants in Europe, many of whom arrive on rafts and small boats after treacherous crossings of the Mediterranean.

A Call to Action

Francis told La Stampa, “First of all, never forget the most important right of all: the right to life. The immigrants arrive mainly to escape from war or hunger, from the Middle East and from Africa.” The pope added that receiving such migrants “is also a Christian, evangelical task. Doors must be opened, not closed. … Governments must think and act prudently, which is a virtue of government.”

The pope asserted that such migrants could be deployed to replace areas where the population has fallen. “They told me that in a European country there are half-empty towns because of the demographic decline: some migrant communities could be transferred there, which among other things would be able to revive the economy of the area,” he said.

Francis also said Christianity is at the root of Europe’s values: “The starting point and the starting point are the human values of the human person,” he explained. “Together with Christian values: Europe has human and Christian roots…. And when I say this, I do not separate Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants. The Orthodox have a very precious role for Europe. We all have the same fundamental values.”

It’s not unusual for popes to offer viewpoints on social issues and societal conditions; in fact, it’s something often done by whoever is leading the Catholic Church at the moment. But not since the restoration of the papacy after the 1798 capture of the then-pontiff by one of Napoleon’s generals has the world seen a pope as directly political as Francis has been.

During the 2016 elections in the United States—and just two days before a presidential primary in South Carolina—the pope blasted then-candidate Donald Trump, saying, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the gospel.”

Trump responded, “He doesn’t know me ... the Pope heard only one side of the story.”

Francis’ latest interjection is in the question of the European Union and its continued stability, with the United Kingdom ready to pull out on October 31, and other members at odds. “Europe cannot and must not dissolve,” the pope told La Stampa. “It is a historical, cultural, and geographical unit. The dream of the Founding Fathers had consistency because it was an implementation of this unity. Now we must not lose this heritage.”

Francis also praised the election of German politician Ursula von der Leyen as the new president of the European Commission—the EU’s governing body—saying, “A woman can be fit to revive the strength of the Founding Fathers. Women have the ability to unite.”

Pope’s End-Time Political Role

Students of Bible prophecy will be aware that Revelation 13:3 talks about a time when the world will follow a religious power that seems attractive, regardless of doctrinal accuracy: “I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.”

Many identify that “mortally wounded” beast as the papacy. Our online Bible Study Guide “Bowing to Babylon” explains the connection between Daniel’s prophecies and those found in Revelation. It’s a fascinating study that may well open your eyes, or those of a friend, to the coming events detailed in the pages of the Scriptures.

As Pastor Doug Batchelor put it, “The Bible predicts a false religious movement will arise in the last days to force the world to follow after unbiblical teachings, all cloaked in the forms of ‘united Christianity.’ It will present itself as the one true church, a religious power that was ‘mortally wounded,’ but whose ‘deadly wound was healed.’ The whole world will marvel and follow this beast power at the expense of Bible truth. Christians need to know their Bibles and draw as near to Jesus so they can avoid this deception.”

When a global religious leader speaks, his voice can sway populations to take action in many areas. Will Pope Francis have a voice in the 2020 U.S. elections? And will it have an effect? It’s important to study prophecy now in order to be prepared!

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