Yesterday’s headlines highlighted two old guys arguing: One, Pope Francis, is 79; the other one, Donald Trump, is 69.
The two have much in common: Both appeal to the emotions, based on faith, of their followers. One heads a country, the other wants to head a country. Both are heavily protected by armed bodyguards. Both are populist politicians. Both hog the headlines everywhere they go. Both make social media explode.
Trump then added a bunch of blustery Trump stuff.
Still, I think he’s right. There are a lot of conservative Catholic Francis apologists pretending right now that this is entirely metaphorical, and when Francis speaks of “building walls” he means only metaphorical walls. Rather than, as is obvious, physical walls, with the metaphor of divisions between Christian fellowship attached to those walls.
There’s also the matter that he seemed to have been asked specifically about Trump.
This is a socialist/internationalist conceit — that the third world has the right to pick up and move itself to America, if it wants to, and that it is evil, wrong, racist, and now also unchristian for America to insist upon its borders and insist that it gets to decide who gets to come here and become a citizen.
You may note that during his Mexico trip, Francis said Mass at the U.S.-Mexico border and opined on U.S. immigration, but did not opine on Mexico’s immigration policies, much less go to the Mexico-Guatemala border.
The Security and Civil Defense Services Department manages security and public order, together with the Pontifical Swiss Guard and with related Vatican departments and, when necessary, in conjunction with similar services in Italy and other countries.
In it website you’ll find,
The population of Vatican City is about 800 people, of whom over 450 have Vatican citizenship, while the rest have permission to reside there, either temporarily or permanently, without the benefit of citizenship.
About half of the Vatican’s citizens do not live inside Vatican City. Because of their occupations (mostly as diplomatic personnel), they live in different countries around the world. The conferral or loss of citizenship, authorization to live inside Vatican City and formalities for entering the territory, are governed by special regulations issued according to the Lateran Treaty.
I had the pleasure of visiting the Vatican a couple of decades ago, and first entered it through St. Peter’s Square. You may have been there, or remember it from the movies:
The Square is designed to lift the spirit, and it does. Wide open, beautiful, a masterpiece of the Renaissance. You can enter it freely. Decades ago, security to enter the Museum, Library, Sistine Chapel was very heavy and almost redundant. There were checkpoints at the entrance to each, from inside the Vatican, in contrast to the openness of the Square.
The rest of the Vatican is surrounded by a 1,000 year old wall:
Yesterday the wall became a point of contention, with Trump supporters claiming it as a symbol of the pope’s hypocrisy, and Pope supporters and supporters of illegal immigration insisting that the wall simply doesn’t exist.
.@FreedomDefined1 There is no wall, you dipshit. That’s the exterior of the Vatican Museum.
— Emily Zanotti (@emzanotti) February 18, 2016
It exists, and The Daily Mail has a brief history,
HOW A RAID BY MUSLIM PIRATES PROMPTED VATICAN OFFICIALS TO BUILD THE WALL
Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world. An enormous stone wall acts as a boundary between the micronation and the rest of Italy.
Nowadays, it serves as a way for the Swiss Guard to control the stream of tourists coming in and out of the Pope’s home.
But, just over 1,200 years ago, it was an integral form of protection for the Pope, who was a targeted figure after the fall of the Holy Roman Empire .
The fortification was first built after a raid by Muslim pirates in 846. Arab raiders sacked Rome in a bid to find treasures. They didn’t reach St Peter’s but the attack forced the Vatican to take precautions.
Watch towers were put in place to watch for would-be intruders.
It also helped to protect Pope Gregory VII around 200 years later when the Holy Roman Emperor besieged Rome.
In the 1640s, Pope Paul III expanded the fortifications, and additional defenses.
In 1870, the Pope’s residency in the Vatican was left in flux when Rome was annexed by the Piedmont-led forces which had united the rest of Italy.
They had created the Kingdom of Italy, a change opposed by Pope Pius XIII as it undermined his autonomy in some areas.
Between 1861 and 1929 the status of the Pope was referred to as the ‘Roman Question’ and the walls served as a way of keeping him isolated from the rest of Italy.
Within the walls, Italian politicians did not challenge the Pope’s autonomy. But, in other parts of the country, church items were confiscated.
In 1871, the Palazzo Quirinale, the Papal palace since 1583, was confiscated by the king of Italy and became the royal palace.
Thereafter, Popes resided undisturbed within the Vatican walls.
Certain papal prerogatives were recognized by the Law of Guarantees, including the right to send and receive ambassadors.
But the Popes did not recognise the Italian king’s right to rule in Rome, and they refused to leave the Vatican compound until the dispute was resolved in 1929.
Ever since the autonomy of the Vatican within the walls has not been challenged by the Italian government.
Liam Stack at the NYT:
There are, to be sure, formidable walls in Vatican City, and much of of the site, including the gardens and the modest guesthouse that is home to Francis, is set behind them. But the walls do not entirely enclose the city-state, and in the modern era they are not meant to, historians said.
Through all this, Trump is still a disgraceful blowhard, the Vatican still has a wall.
The real issue, however, remains that,
By injecting himself in the Republican presidential race, the pontiff placed Kasich and other GOP contenders in the awkward position of either disagreeing publicly with the pope or defending Trump for proposing a wall.
The pope may have handed Trump a win in the South Carolina primary: His remarks might stir enough anti-Catholic, anti-immigration voters to turn up at the polls.
Linked to by the Daily Gator. Thank you!
The excellent Diplomad: The Pope Blesses Donald Trump
First, full disclosure: I expressed mixed views about this Pope when he took office, and over time have begun to develop an increasingly negative view of him. I think he has revealed himself as a typical 1970s Latin American social justice warrior. I ran into those types, including priests, in my tours in Latin America, and found them tiresome, hypocritical, anti-American, and–ahem–insufferably Holier than Thou. Hypocritical? Yes. Many SJWs were foreigners; when the poop hit the fan, they relied on their foreign passports to get them out of town, leaving behind their local flocks to face the angry wolves. The Pope, likewise, reeked of hypocrisy when he implicitly criticized Trump for wanting to build a wall on our southern border to stem the tide of illegal migrants. The Pope, after all, lives behind massive walls, has an elaborate security apparatus, and commands jet planes and bulletproof vehicles for his safety and comfort. The Vatican, of course, is free to invite several thousand Central American migrants, including members of MS-13, along with thousands of “Syrian refugees” into the the confines of the Vatican and resettle them. Ain’t gonna happen.
Not that the pope apologists will ever admit to it.