In an interview with a French-Catholic newspaper, the Pope compared the Great Commission in Matthew 28 to that of Islamic conquest.
Here’s the question:
The fear of accepting migrants is partly based on a fear of Islam. In your view, is the fear that this religion sparks in Europe justified?
And here’s the beginning of his answer:
Pope Francis: Today, I don’t think that there is a fear of Islam as such but of ISIS and its war of conquest, which is partly drawn from Islam. It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.
While I respect the Pope as the leader of the Catholic world, I must vehemently disagree with the notion that the Great Commission in Matthew 28 can be interpreted in this way. It’s not even close to the idea of conquest.
Rather, Jesus tells his disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;”
Make disciples, baptize and teach. That’s it. Not behead, not conquer, not anything of the sort.
It honestly sounds like the Pope is trying to empathize with how Muslims incorrectly view Christianity. Or maybe he isn’t. I don’t know.
But for whatever reason he states it, it sounds ludicrous to these ears. I think I’m going to need some clarification from the Pope on this one.
Just in case you think he’s being taken out of context, here’s the rest of his answer:
In the face of Islamic terrorism, it would therefore be better to question ourselves about the way in an overly Western model of democracy has been exported to countries such as Iraq, where a strong government previously existed. Or in Libya, where a tribal structure exists. We cannot advance without taking these cultures into account. As a Libyan said recently, “We used to have one Gaddafi, now we have fifty.”
Ultimately, co-existence between Christians and Muslims is still possible. I come from a country where they co-habit on good terms. Muslims come to venerate the Virgin Mary and St George. Similarly, they tell me that for the Jubilee Year Muslims in one African country formed a long queue at the cathedral to enter through the holy door and pray to the Virgin Mary. In Central Africa, before the war, Christians and Muslims used to live together and must learn to do so again. Lebanon also shows that this is possible.
He also said this in the same interview as part of a response to another question:
More generally, this raises the question of a world economic system that has descended into the idolatry of money. The great majority of humanity’s wealth has fallen into the hands of a minority of the population.
A completely free market does not work. Markets in themselves are good but they also require a fulcrum, a third party, or a state to monitor and balance them. In other words, [what is needed is] a social market economy.
So I guess the Pope doesn’t believe in wealth creation, nor does he understand that we have no completely free market system. What we have is more akin to ‘Heavily Regulated Markets’, not Free Markets. So in effect, we already have his ‘social market economy’ and it isn’t working.
If only Milton Friedman were still here to explain this to the Pope.
Read the full interview here (it’s in English).