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Pope Francis has issued a warning to the world about the dangers of riding on the waves of populist politics. He said that the example of history had taught the world a bitter lesson about the devastation that populist politicians can unleash on the world, pointing specifically to Adolf Hitler whose regime led to a catastrophic loss of life all over the world.
Pope Francis urges people to be on their guard against populism
“Hitler did not steal power, ” Pope Francis said in an interview “He was elected by his people, and then he destroyed his people.” He said that crises provoke fear and alarm and cause electorates to behave in erratic and increasingly desperate manner. In 1933, Germany was in the midst of the greatest economic crisis to ever strike the country. There was also a great sense of a loss of a common and proud identity among the German people who had been defeated and humiliated in the aftermath of the Second World War. It was these factors that led to the attraction of Adolf Hitler whose promised a proud identity and a national resurgence for the beleaguered German nation.
Pope Francis’s remarks were interpreted as a veiled warning about the presidency of Donald Trump who has been identified as having authoritarian tendencies and whose ideology shares certain disturbing parallels with the ideologies of fascist leaders such as Hitler and Benito Mussolini. However, Pope Francis said that he was not making reference to Trump and would observe his actions while in office before passing judgment on his presidency. “We will see how he acts, what he does, and then I will have an opinion. But being afraid or rejoicing beforehand because of something that might happen is, in my view, quite unwise. It would be like prophets predicting calamities, ” the Pope said.
Later in the interview, the Pontiff discussed the state of the Catholic Church in the modern world and discussed a potential trip to China. Historically, the Chinese people have generally been deeply resistant to western Christians proselytizing within their country, but there is a small minority Christian population in China nonetheless.
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