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Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

No 'Francis effect' in Strasbourg

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Nov 25, 2014

Jean-Marie Guénois, the religion correspondent for Le Figaro (and an old friend), has tweeted several perceptive observations about the Pope’s visit to Strasbourg today. Guénois has been a member of the Vatican press corps for more than 20 years, and been aboard the papal plane for more than 50 trips abroad, so he has a broad frame of reference. On this trip, he noticed two things that he had never seen before.

First, the streets of Strasbourg were nearly empty as the papal motorcade traveled from the airport to the European Parliament. There were scarcely any people on the sidewalks to greet—or for that matter even to heckle—the Pope.

Second, the schedule for the Pope’s quick trip did not include any event, however brief, that was open to the general public. Pope Francis addressed the Parliament, spoke to the leaders of the European Council, and quickly hopped on a flight back to Rome.

Commenting sadly on the trip, Guénois concludes: “The Pope did not want to see the people of Alsace, and the people of Alsace did not want to see the Pope.”

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: rjbennett1294 - Feb. 04, 2017 4:23 AM ET USA

    The question is not whether our country has the capacity to absorb more immigrants; the question is whether our country has the capacity to absorb immigrants who, as Cardinal Burke has pointed out, adhere to a "religion" the core purpose of which is to impose its law and government on the rest of the world, in whatever way it can.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Feb. 04, 2017 1:38 AM ET USA

    The guest-worker program mentioned by fwhermann3492 is indeed a good idea. It worked in the 1960s, so why shouldn't it work now? I have already recounted in this forum the exceptionally good relations my family had with guest workers who shopped at our store in a small northern town. We catered to their special requests, and they supported our store with their business. After getting a driver's license, I even delivered groceries to their apartments at the canning factory where they worked.

  • Posted by: feedback - Feb. 04, 2017 12:34 AM ET USA

    I'd say "Yes" to each; however, questions 2 and 3 from the list condition the rest of them, and relate directly to what Trump promised to do in his campaign and is doing. I notice how those two key questions are being meticulously, and dishonestly, omitted in anti-Trump propaganda, while the other arguments are being repeated ad nauseam. This major omission strips the debate of rationality and civility.

  • Posted by: danflaherty210701793 - Feb. 03, 2017 5:53 PM ET USA

    Great column and badly needed in the current environment. I support getting control of the border for the precise reason that it makes the United States better able to truly help those in desperate need. The current situation is not sustainable.

  • Posted by: fwhermann3492 - Feb. 03, 2017 4:23 PM ET USA

    I thought--and still think--that G. W. Bush had a good idea with his guest worker program. It would let in more immigrants without automatically bestowing citizenship upon them. And it would allow the immigrants jobs only if those jobs couldn't be filled by citizens. Seemed like a win-win situation to me. But alas, it wasn't enough for those on the far left, and it was too much for those on the far right.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Nov. 25, 2014 10:45 PM ET USA

    It's not the Pope I'm worried about - "But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" Luke 18:8. Perhaps the Pope will return in a year to recognize the millennium anniversary of its great cathedral.