The rise of nationalism and the ideological divide that springs from it could create the same circumstances that led to the rise of the Nazi party in Germany and World War II, Pope Francis warned.
In a rare move, Pope Francis asked for a microphone and gave an off-the-cuff speech to Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who was accompanied by his wife, Maria Begona Gomez, and a delegation of officials on Oct. 24.
Citing a book by Italian philosopher Siegmund Ginzberg titled “Syndrome 1933,” the Pope said he agreed with its assessment that the ideological shift in today’s European political climate risks something similar to what occurred in Germany after the fall of the Weimar Republic, giving rise to the ideology of National Socialism, more commonly known as Nazism.
Ideologies “sectarianize, ideologies deconstruct the homeland, they don’t build it,” he said. And Ginzberg “very delicately, makes a comparison of what is happening in Europe. He says: ‘Be careful, we are repeating a similar path.’”
In his roughly eight-minute address to Sanchez and the Spanish delegation, the Pope recalled St Paul VI’s recognition of politics as “one of the highest forms of charity.” “Politics is not only an art, but for Christians it is an act of charity, it ennobles and often leads to the sacrifice of one’s life, one’s privacy, so many things, for the good of others, and this is because the politician has in his hands a very difficult mission,” he said.
The Pope’s comments came at a time of political division in Spain when lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected a vote of no-confidence on Oct. 22 brought against Sanchez, a member of Spain’s Socialist party, by members of the far-right Vox party.