Pope Francis: Outrage over bizarre statements on NATO policy abroad

In theology, the pope is considered the supreme authority, many believers even as infallible. But does this also apply to politics?

► Francis (85), who appeared publicly for the first time in a wheelchair on Thursday due to a knee condition, was criticized for his remarks on the Russian attack against Ukraine. Trigger: A newspaper interview in which he blamed NATO for starting the war, accusing the Western defense alliance of “barking at Russia’s door”.

CDU foreign politician Norbert Röttgen (56) reacts indignantly: “When the pope enters the realm of politics, he is not infallible.” To form an opinion, Francis should “not only go to Moscow, but to Riga, Vilnius or Tallinn.” Because: the small Baltic states have Putin never wanted to provoke, but simply sought to protect himself from him.

FDP defense politician Marie-Agnès Strack-Zimmermann (64) reacted sarcastically to the pope’s bizarre statements: “First Putin feigned piety with a candle in his hand at the Russian-Orthodox Easter Vigil, now the Vatican also helps him. Cheer. The good Lord looks at the earth amazed as the Ukrainian people are dying.

party colleague and FDP parliamentary group leader Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (55) remains more diplomatic: “If Pope Francis wants to succeed as a mediator, he must either remain politically neutral or side with the weak. I’m sure he knows that and will take that into account in his next steps.”

Green politician Marieluise Beck (69) also sticks to indirect criticism: “The UN General Assembly, that is to say the community of peoples, has condemned the war of aggression of the Russia by an overwhelming majority Anyone who engages has an obligation to make a clear distinction between the aggressor and the victim being assaulted.

It becomes clear Political scientist Prof. Maximilian Terhalle (48, London School Of Economics): “It’s downright preposterous to blame NATO for the slightest hint of aggression against Russia. Over all these years, the Kremlin has modernized, not NATO and certainly not Germany. The theory that the pope seems to believe that Russia has been surrounded is complete nonsense.”

Best-selling author Wladimir Kaminer (54, ‘Russendisko’) suspects the Argentine’s attitude has something to do with his age, telling BILD: “With old people, pacifism triumphs over logic.” Putin never cared about NATO: “He was never afraid of the alliance. He only uses eastward expansion for his purpose: to retain power at all costs, even if invades neighboring countries and murders thousands of people.

Unbelievable: All of BILD’s requests to the German bishops to classify the pope’s statements have gone unanswered. So no support for NATO critic Francis.

German-Israeli Author Ahmad Mansour (45) doesn’t understand the Vatican course, tells BILD: “Now is not the time for meaningless slogans like, ‘You have to have understanding for both sides’.”

Linn Selle (35), President of the European Movement Germany and co-signer of an open letter to the chancellor, in which prominent figures call for more arms deliveries to Ukraine, appreciates the pope’s mediation efforts. BUT: “He should stick to his own wise words and not choose the language of politics, especially if the content is false. The eastward enlargement of NATO was a decision of sovereign states. Putin’s Russia is the aggressor. Ukraine now needs economic and military aid and the prospect of EU membership.

Of Green politician and religious scholar Volker Beck (61)“The Pope excuses the aggressor with his bravado. The role of the Church should be to persuade Russia to end hostilities.

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