The European Union “risks dying” without a “new vision“, Pope Francis has claimed, while launching a bitter assault on the value of democracy, declaring it “a form of egotism“.
In an address to European leaders on Friday, the Pope said the European Union faced a “vacuum of values” and was losing its “sense of direction” and called for a “stronger, consolidated Europe” against the rising tide of democratic populist movements.
The extreme comments delivered by the pontiff have drawn the ire of pro-democracy Catholics, who claim the pontiff is working towards calling for the reintroduction of communism to Europe.
The pontiff contrasted socialist solidarity, which draws us “closer to our neighbors,” with democratic populism, which is “the fruit of an egotism that hems people in and prevents them from overcoming and ‘looking beyond’ their own narrow vision.”
As a number of European countries prepare for important national elections pitting populist leaders against establishment, left-leaning parties, the Pope took an unusually overt stand in favor of a socialist vision of the future of the region – and the world.
“There is a need to start thinking once again as Europeans,” Francis said, “so as to avert the opposite dangers of a dreary uniformity or the triumph of particularisms.”
“Politics needs this kind of leadership, which avoids appealing to emotions to gain consent, but instead, in a spirit of solidarity and subsidiarity, devises policies that can make the Union as a whole develop harmoniously,” he added.
This union will only be lasting and successful if the common will of Europe “proves more powerful than the will of individual nations,” Francis said, quoting the Prime Minister of Luxembourg.
The pontiff’s comments come days after he controversially became the first Pope in history to hold Islamic prayers and Quruan recitals inside the Vatican.
Christians have pointed out that the pope’s decision to declare the Bible and the Quran one and the same and allow Islamic prayer in the Vatican directly contradicts Biblical teaching:
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father.” John 14: 6-7