Pope Francis has repeatedly made it clear that he supports open-borders policies and mass migration, but a strange metaphor he offered up during a Thursday meeting with Jesuits in Thailand took his politically charged rhetoric to another level entirely.
Asked about his view of how Catholics should react to mass migration and refugee resettlement, Pope Francis invoked the Biblical story of King Herod who ordered the mass killing of newborns in a quest to eliminate Baby Jesus.
“I must admit that I am shocked by some of the narratives I hear in Europe about borders,” the pope said. “Populism is gaining strength. In other parts there are walls that even separate children from parents. Herod comes to mind.”
The pope also alleged that unfounded fear is the impetus for citizens demanding secure borders, stating “the phenomenon of migration is compounded by war, hunger and a ‘defensive mindset,’ which makes us in a state of fear believe that you can defend yourself only by strengthening borders.”
“We also remember the importance of welcoming the foreigner as the Old Testament teaches us,” the Pope continued. “But there are also many little customs and traditions of hospitality, such as leaving an empty chair on a festive day in case an unexpected guest arrives.”
According to ANSA, Italy’s not-for-profit news service, Pope Francis called for the Japanese to accept more refugees, at one point referring to them as “zombies,” during a visit to the Cathedral fo Saint Mary in Tokyo, Japan.
“I ask you to spread the arms of friendship and welcome those who come, often after great suffering, to seek refuge in your country,” the Pontiff reportedly said.
Japan is a notoriously difficult nation to immigrate to, using refugee status or otherwise. The Pope noted that Japan’s immigration policies are “so restrictive that the number of those who have obtained refugee status in 2018 is limited to 42 people.”
Pope Francis claimed that refusing to allow refugees into Japan will lead to loneliness, “the greatest poverty.”