I like Pope Francis very much, because I think he is making some much-needed changes in Catholicism’s approach to various issues. My admiration goes to such an extent that I have not held it against him when he has very loudly expressed opinions I’m pretty sure are wrong – climate-change alarmism, praise of socialist economics, etc., etc. Heck, I even was willing to give his Obama/Francis opening to Cuba a chance: Who knows, perhaps it will help liberalize that regime. But at some point, my patience does get rather sorely tried.
Today comes news that the pope has recognized the State of Palestine – an action that I believe will only encourage the Palestinians in their habitual rejectionism and their unwillingness to negotiate in good faith toward a two-state solution.
To those who have taken a vow of total obedience to whatever golden words emerge from the papal mouth, I puckishly suggest they use the Rex Mottram talking point: The State of Palestine exists and deserves to be recognized, it’s just that the critics are too sinful to see it. (And also, don’t forget the other oldie-but-goodie: The media must have gotten the story wrong.)
UPDATE: Allow me to clarify something that was misleading in this post. Pope Francis did not invent this mistaken Vatican policy. He was merely asserting, for the first time in a formal treaty, the mistaken Vatican policy established by Pope Benedict XVI. But it would be wrong to minimize the importance of what happened yesterday. It’s one thing to recognize in principle that the Palestinians should have a state. But what the Vatican did yesterday was conclude a treaty with the Palestinian entity as if that entity were already a state. I strongly doubt that the consequences for Mideast peace will be positive.
UPDATE #2: Allow me also to apologize for the phrase “a vow of total obedience to whatever golden words emerge from the papal mouth.” It was unnecessarily sarcastic; my momentary vexation, about the Mideast and the world generally, got the better of me. It’s unlikely that the sort of people I was referring to would be reading my post, but I thought I should put this on the record in any case.