During a speech to a French Christian audience on Thursday, Bloomberg Business reported that Pope Francis made references to what he called an “Arab invasion” of Europe. Francis went on to elaborate that Europe faced many such invasions throughout history and that Europe has, in the past, seen itself “enhanced” by such influxes of people.
“Today we can talk about an Arab invasion. It is a social fact.”
The speech to the French Christian group was recorded in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, which went on to describe in detail Pope Francis’ comments on what he referred to as the current “Arab invasion” of Europe. According to the report, Pope Francis used his speech to address globalization. The pontiff described globalization as being “good” and “less good,” going on to explain the difference between the two. Pope Francis described good globalization as a situation where all are united, but every people and nation would retain its personal “identity, its culture and its wealth.”
“The stakes for me is this good globalization, which allows us to keep what defines us.”
Pope Francis went on to describe Europe as “the only continent that can bring some unity to the world.” According to the Pope, while China (a country, not a continent) has more profound ancient culture, only Europe has a “vocation of universality and of service.” Pope Francis also referenced a November 2014 speech he gave in Strasbourg. In that speech, Francis had compared Europe to a grandmother, calling the continent “a little tired.” He then wondered aloud whether or not the “grandma” could once again become a “young mother.”
— JuvCatolik (@JuventudCatoliK) February 25, 2016
According to Pope Francis, the answer to that metaphorical question is a resounding “yes.” So long as certain conditions are met. According to the pope, being a mother means having children. He described certain European countries, such as Italy and Spain, as having birth rates nearing zero, with France faring better because that nation has policies that encourage birth.
Pope Francis then went on to say that if Europe wants to transform from a tired grandma to young mother once more, it must not forget its roots, which have spread throughout the new world via colonization. According to Pope Francis, Europe has become weakened by “forgetting its own history.”
It was then that Pope Francis spoke of the Arab invasion of Europe as a “social fact,” going on to say that Europe has always been able to overcome obstacles and move forward, and according to the pope, Europe has been able to do so by way of increased exchanges between cultures.
As RT reported, the news of Pope Francis’ words about an “Arab invasion” of Europe came just days after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accused Balkan countries, including Austria, of “killing Europe” by way of their strict, newly imposed border restrictions. The border restrictions imposed by the Balkan nations have resulted in roughly 30,000 asylum seekers — from war-torn Syria and other Middle Eastern nations — becoming stranded throughout Greece.
“It cannot be that after something is adopted at an EU summit, some decide to simply close their borders. These countries are killing Europe!”
Pope Francis’ words come in the wake of a year (2015) when over 362,000 Syrians flooded Europe, as well as over 121,000 Iraqis. Most of these refugees came by way of Greece, and as the numbers increase (the number of Syrian refugees doubled from 2014), many European countries have struggled to handle the torrent of potential new settlers, with some countries imposing strict restrictions on those seeking asylum.
— Captain Euro (@captaineuro) March 4, 2016
In the last two weeks alone, a gigantic refugee camp has reportedly been constructed on the border between Greece and Macedonia, which has put the breaks on migrants crossing into its territory. Currently, there are over 11 thousand migrant refugees waiting in Greece, in limbo, for Macedonia to reopen its border.
The pope has been outspoken on his views regarding refugees and immigration all around the world, recently drawing American ire by calling Donald Trump’s Christianity into question over the former reality star’s plans to build a wall along the U.S. Southern border if elected president. While not hesitant to speak his mind about global issues, Pope Francis lacks the authority to make nations abide by his opinions.
[Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images]