Christian Critque of Pope Francis Christmas Message

Pope Francis Puts Focus on Refugees in Christmas Eve Mass

DEC. 24, 2017
The New York Times

ROME — Pope Francis on Sunday used the Christmas Eve Mass that amplifies his voice around the globe to focus on refugees and migrants, drawing a parallel between their travails and that of the holy family at the time of the birth of Jesus. (1) (2)

Recalling that Mary gave birth to Jesus in a manger because “there was no place for them in the inn,” (3) Francis highlighted the biblical story in a present day in which the White House has restricted travel for people from predominantly Muslim countries, the Myanmar military has carried out ethnic cleansing against a stateless Rohingya minority, and wars, human trafficking and the indifference of wealthy nations have resulted in millions of families languishing in squalid refugee camps. (4)

Using the example of the holy family to emphasize the “dangers that attend those who have to leave their home behind,” Francis noted that in Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary found a city “that had no room or place for the stranger from afar,” and which “seemed to want to build itself up by turning its back on others.” Instead, the pope said, Jesus “comes to give all of us our document of citizenship.” (5)

Since his election in 2013, Francis has spoken out for refugees, and often says the families fleeing conflict or economic hardship are the heirs of his religion’s prophet. In Bangladesh a few weeks ago, he spoke of neighboring Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya minority, saying, “The presence of God today is also called Rohingya.” (6)

But on Sunday night in St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis further elevated the plight of the world’s castaways, saying that their footsteps followed those trudged by Joseph and the pregnant Mary to the manger. (7)

“We see the tracks of millions of persons who do not choose to go away but, driven from their land, leave behind their dear ones,” he said, adding that while some seek a better life, “for many others this departure can only have one name: survival.” (8)

The pope, who recently turned 81, is in the fifth year of a papacy that supporters and critics have both called “revolutionary.” On Sunday night he made clear that the outcasts of the global periphery are front and center to his mission. (9)

He has repeatedly called on Western nations to resist the pull of nationalism — as well as the destabilizing fear of migrants — and to open their doors. On Christmas Eve, he recalled the famous appeal of John Paul II to opponents of Communism, that they should “Be not afraid,” “open wide the doors” and have confidence that their cause was just and would prevail. (10)

Francis repurposed the message as an appeal for hospitality to the world’s forsaken. “Christmas is a time for turning the power of fear into the power of charity,” he said. (11)

Critique Notes

1)    Joseph and Mary were law-abiding Jews and not Muslims.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying,“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Maryyour wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:18-21.

2)    Crime has dramatically increased since the mass Muslim migration into Europe.
BERLIN (Reuters) - Migrants in Germany committed or tried to commit some 69,000 crimes in the first quarter of 2016, according to a police report that could raise unease, especially among anti-immigrant groups, about Chancellor Angela Merkel’s liberal migrant policy.

3)    Joseph had money to pay for lodging when it became available since he worked.
When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:9-11.

4)    It is the God-ordained responsibility of government to punish evil people.
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. Romans 13:1-3.

5)    Joseph was returning to his home-town within the same country and was not a stranger.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. Luke 2:4-5.

6)    The presence of God is encountered only through Jesus Christ.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16.

7)    Joseph and Mary were obeying government by going to his home-town of Bethlehem.
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Luke 2:1-3.

8)    Devout Muslims practice violence against Christians in Muslim countries.
ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) - Christian families and students fled Egypt’s North Sinai province in droves on Friday after Islamic State killed the seventh member of their community in just three weeks.

9)    The pope must not be a Christian according the Apostle Paul.
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2

10)     Persecution of Christians under both Communism and Islam is a valid comparison.
Throughout the history of the Soviet Union (1922–1991), there were periods where Soviet authorities suppressed and persecuted various forms of Christianity to different extents depending on State interests. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.

11)    Christmas is a time to remember Jesus Christ who came to redeem those who received Him.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:12-14.