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Pope Warns That White Nationalism Could Lead to a New Hitler

Excerpted from US Uncut, January 23, 2017
Volume 31, Issue 1,2 & 3, March 21, 2017

Tom Cahill, Seattle

     Pope Francis is warning the world that new, brutal dictatorial regimes could emerge if white nationalism continues unabated.
     While the Pontiff didn’t mention any leaders by name, he cited historical precedent as reason for conditions ripening throughout the world for a white nationalist leader — particularly in Europe — to rise quickly into the halls of power. Even though Pope Francis referenced “populism” in answering the question posed by the Spanish reporter interviewing him, the larger context of the question was in reference to leaders who foment “xenophobia and hatred towards foreigners.” It’s understood that Pope Francis’ definition of “populism” in this interview is in reference to white nationalism as a political platform.
     “In times of crisis, we lack judgment, and that is a constant reference for me,” Pope Francis told Spanish newspaper El Pais. “The most obvious example of European populism is Germany in 1933. After the crisis of 1930, Germany is broken, it needs to get up, to find its identity, a leader, someone capable of restoring its character, and there is a young man named Adolf Hitler.”
     The head of the Catholic Church ominously reminded the world that the most destructive leaders didn’t have to seize power in order to commit heinous atrocities — they only needed to win elections.
     “Hitler didn’t steal the power,” Pope Francis said. “[H]is people voted for him, and then he destroyed his people.”
     While Pope Francis gave those remarks while answering a question about the rise of racist politics and nationalism in Europe, the timing of his remarks just after the inauguration of Donald Trump is curious, given President Trump’s entire campaign was based on right-wing populism. In 2015, Pope Francis said Trump was “not a Christian” based on his campaign promises to build a massive border wall and deport millions of undocumented immigrants.
     Shortly after Trump was sworn in as president, Pope Francis told him he was praying for his decisions to “be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people and your nation’s commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide.” He also refused El Pais’ request to give an opinion on President Trump at the early stages of his administration, saying, “we don’t want to be prophets of doom.”
     In addition to Trump, right-wing populism has been surging in Europe, particularly in France, where National Front leader Marine le Pen, who is running to replace French President Francois Hollande, has been building a campaign platform eerily similar to Donald Trump’s. Le Pen wants to ban immigration to France from Middle Eastern nations, and has campaigned against Islam as a whole since the terrorist attacks in Paris. She is seen as a leading contender in the 2017 elections.
Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. You can follow him on Facebook.