Pope Francis Wants Peace on Earth – Sometimes
In his annual Christmas address from St. Peter’s (here), Pope Francis called for peace on earth. It’s hardly surprising. But when it comes to actually making peace, the Vatican is capricious.
Peace in Congo
Two days before Christmas, the Church claimed they helped negotiate peace in the Congo (here). President Joseph Kabila had refused to leave office after his term expired, creating a crisis in which dozens died and hundreds were imprisoned. The Church claimed they helped negotiate a deal in which Kabila would step down peacefully after another year.
But on December 26, the Church issued a correction (here). There was no breakthrough, and peace talks are at an impasse. No explanation was provided.
Peace in Columbia
Columbia has suffered through civil war for over 50 years. In August, a tentative agreement was reached between the government and FARC, the opposition. It needed approval from voters in a referendum, and details still needed to be worked out. Columbia is about 80% Catholic. Pope Francis congratulated the parties on the agreement, but did not exhort his flock to vote for it. The referendum failed by the narrowest of margins.
The government and FARC then re-negotiated, and got the revised deal approved.
Church Claims about Columbia
The NY Times said Pope Francis’s “Christmas message also recalled Colombia, which has seen his personal intervention try to end Latin America's longest running conflict.” This is a fascinating claim.
Back in August, when the original agreement was reached, both sides wanted the Vatican to participate in peace negotiations (here). But the pope declined. The Vatican’s Secretary of State said, “bearing in mind the universal vocation of the church and the mission of the Successor of Peter as pastor of the people of God, it would be more appropriate that the said task be entrusted to other parties.”
In other words, when both sides asked Pope Francis to help peace negotiations, he refused. The Vatican said it would be inappropriate. They didn’t even urge their flock to vote for the peace treaty. But months later, after the government and FARC succeeded in passing an agreement, the Vatican announced that the Pope played an important role.
What is the Church’s Position?
In Columbia, the Church said it was inappropriate for it to get involved in peace negotiations. But the Church got involved in peace negotiations in the Congo. During WWII, the Pope had no problem authorizing German bishops to exhort Catholic soldiers to fight valiantly and risk their life for Reich and Fuhrer. The Church has repeatedly authorized war. It is not clear why it cannot help negotiate peace. After all, Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
While the Vatican said it would be inappropriate to negotiate peace in Columbia, they had no problem taking credit for peace negotiations months later after the government and FARC had succeeded. The Church claimed they successfully negotiated peace in the Congo, before they retracted their announcement days later.
While the Pope calls for peace, the Church flip-flops about making peace. The Church puts propaganda above principle and integrity. And you can usually count on them trying to rewrite history.