Pope Warns Against European Populism

Pope Warns Against  European Populism Pope Warns Against  European Populism

Pope Francis cautioned Europeans against the lure of populism, saying they should avoid repeating the same mistakes made in the 1930s to solve economic and political crises, which led to World War II. He made the comments in an hour-long interview published on Sunday in the Spanish newspaper El Pais, which was conducted as Donald Trump was being sworn in as the new US president, Deutsche Welle reported.

When asked about populist-style political leaders emerging in Europe, Pope Francis said that in times of crisis, "We look for a savior to give us back identity, and we defend ourselves with walls, barbed-wire fences, from other peoples."

He gave the example of the unrest in Germany in the 1930s, which led to Hitler's rise to power.

"Germany... was looking for a leader, someone who would give her back her identity and there was a little man named Adolf Hitler who said 'I can do it'," Francis told the newspaper.

"Hitler did not steal power," the pope emphasized. "He was elected by his people and then he destroyed his people."

Francis said that although every country has the right to control its borders to protect against threats of terrorism, "no country has the right to deprive its citizens of the right to have dialogue with their neighbors." When asked his opinion on the newly inaugurated US leader, Francis said he will wait to form an opinion of Trump and see what policies he would implement.

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