Muddle-Headed Pope on Arms Manufacturers
TURIN, Italy (Reuters) - People who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian, Pope Francis said on Sunday.That’s right. In one and the same speech, he condemned arms manufacturers, and lamented the fact that the Allies did not bomb the railway lines to the death camps.
Francis issued his toughest condemnation to date of the weapons industry at a rally of thousands of young people at the end of the first day of his trip to the Italian city of Turin.
“If you trust only men you have lost,” he told the young people in a long, rambling talk about war, trust and politics after putting aside his prepared address.
“It makes me think of ... people, managers, businessmen who call themselves Christian and they manufacture weapons. That leads to a bit a distrust, doesn’t it?” he said to applause.
He also criticized those who invest in weapons industries, saying “duplicity is the currency of today ... they say one thing and do another.”
Francis also built on comments he has made in the past about events during the first and second world wars. He spoke of the “tragedy of the Shoah,” using the Hebrew term for the Holocaust.
“The great powers had the pictures of the railway lines that brought the trains to the concentration camps like Auschwitz to kill Jews, Christians, homosexuals, everybody. Why didn’t they bomb (the railway lines)?”
And with what were the Allies supposed to bomb the rail lines? Bombers. Built by weapons manufacturers. Most likely B-17s (built by Boeing) or B-24s (built by Consolidated).
Has the Pope even noticed the contradiction?
As Marc Livecche has noted:
With what, precisely, did he intend the allies to bomb the rail lines? The 20th Century ought to have convinced us, including us Christians, that those kinds of folks who enjoy genocide cannot usually be talked out of their malevolence with prayers or harsh language – they most often have to be forced out of it. If soft power cannot get those who are murdering the innocent to stand down then hard power is necessary to knock them down. Such business is about more than “hate, fratricide, and violence.” If stopping genocide is a good thing to do then those who have done it – and those who supply the tools to help them do it – have, well, done good. To be sure, the motives of some who sell arms might be mixed. But while this might, in those cases, marble our moral evaluation, we oughtn’t allow the marbling to eclipse the good nor to forget that, just as soldiering can be a Christian vocation, so too can be making the tools of their trade.Livecche then deals with the notion that Christians can somehow opt out of war and violence:
It will do no good to claim, as some have, that this is the business of the government and not of Christians. To claim that God ordained the sword for the government to maintain just order but that he has called Christians away from such business in order to provide an alternative, peaceable kingdom is, in my judgment, the true hypocrisy – not the notion of Christians providing weapons of war. If the peaceable kingdom were a viable alternative to hard coercion then, surely, God would have ordained such a kingdom instead of, rather than alongside, the government’s sword. Given that God has ordained the sword, I stand among those who infer, therefore, that the sword is necessary. And if the sword is necessary then that makes the peaceable kingdom parasitic – because it cannot remain in a world in which the good do not bear arms. The idea that Christians should allow their neighbors to dirty their hands while keeping their own souls clean is, frankly, morally abhorrent.