SAN DIEGO. Amidst all of the talk this holiday season about impeachment, another important story slid through with far too little attention. Pope Francis drew an analogy from the Bible’s Christmas narrative. The illustration was undoubtedly an inference to President Trump, although not limited to Trump. But it was about children, borders and King Herod.
It happened during the Pope’s interaction with Jesuits from Southeast Asia. While answering a question about refugees and Christian hospitality, he said:
“The phenomenon of refugees has always existed, but today it is better known because of social differences, hunger, political tensions, and especially war. For these reasons, migratory movements are intensifying. What is the answer the world gives? The policy of waste. Refugees are waste material. The Mediterranean has been turned into a cemetery. The notorious cruelty of some detention centers in Libya touches my heart. Here in Asia, we all know the problem of the Rohingya. I must admit that I am shocked by some of the narratives I hear in Europe about borders. Populism is gaining strength. In other parts, there are walls that even separate children from parents. Herod comes to mind. Yet for drugs, there’s no wall to keep them out.”
King Herod, of course, is notorious for his role in a darker side of the Christmas story. The Gospel of Matthew describes a meeting between Herod and Magi from the east who were looking for the Jewish Messiah (Christ). Herod, already dubbed “King of Judea” in a puppet position under the Roman conquerors of Judea, became concerned.
He did not like hearing about somebody else who would grow up to be “King of the Jews.”
Upon learning from his scribes that the king these Magi sought was to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), Herod ordered the execution of all male Bethlehem boys two years old or younger. This event is reported by Matthew alone (Matthew 2).
It is nevertheless consistent with other ancient historians such as Josephus, who inform us of the suspicious, paranoid and bloodthirsty reputation of King Herod. After all, why should an elderly king be concerned about a future ruler who could not possibly take the throne until long after his death?
This is the Herod whom Pope Francis refers to. And so, those who believe in borders with walls are to be compared to a tyrant ruler who ordered the execution of children in the hopes of destroying baby Jesus!!!!
Let me say this as carefully as I can:
I myself am not Catholic, neither do I believe in popes. I am a dedicated Christian, but I am of the Protestant variety, and not part of the Catholic church.
However, having said that, I respect Catholics; I respect Catholic tradition.
As for popes? While they mean nothing to my faith personally, historically, I have liked some of them. Certainly, some have been better than others. I do have serious problems with our current pope and the leftist, political harangue that spews forth from his increasingly irresponsible mouth.
This latest “admonition” is beyond the pail. Wanting to protect our country with walled borders makes us like a bloodthirsty king who murdered children? (Pope Francis denounces ‘inhumane detention camps’ for migrants in Christmas message)
This from the man who lives behind the Vatican walls!
This from the man who doesn’t seem to have time to call out Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her position on abortion. Pelosi reminded us just recently how she was “raised in a Catholic house.”
Sadly, that upbringing doesn’t translate into any kind of outcry against abortion or late-term abortion which is nothing but infanticide performed in the name of abortion. God forbid that those who condone the killing of babies should be compared to the king who killed babies! Of course not!
King Herod is instead compared to those who are concerned about borders.
How nice! What a warm, heart-moving Christmas message!
Since the Pope’s words called upon an event from Scripture, perhaps another part of the Bible merits attention:
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
This is Bob Siegel, making the obvious, obvious.