How can Pope Francis respond to this week’s gruesome murder of Father Jacques Hamel?
Carefully. Or, to be a smart ass, by ignoring the advice of people like Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin (formerly Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld):
Pope Francis, in the Vatican, referred to this killing as “an absurd murder.” He could not be more wrong. This was a purposeful act of war against Judeo-Christian civilization.
It seems that the author and Pope Francis are looking at two different contexts of the people involved, their point in history, their relationships to their faiths, and the relationship of those faiths to each other. Or it could be that the author is (as the Germans say) “Papstlicher als der Papst” (more pope-ish than the Pope…although in this case maybe channeling the first Crusade-launching pope Urban II).
In either case, Pope Francis has a responsibility to speak to the politics of the Christian faith — that’s something the Catholic Church does well, considering its outliving most modern nations, governments and in some case even whole ethnic groups). That politics means getting to a collective action/behavior that is different from how people would act on their own, or just thinking about themselves.
Compare (a) how many Christians (and Christian governments) react to the instruction of Pope Francis (through signals, language and behavior) to (b) how the young Muslim men like the murderers in Niece and Normandy react to earnest Islamic Imams preaching for peace. Pope Francis has more influence over non-Catholic Christians than most Imams in France have over the aforementioned young Muslim men.
If the author is thinking in terms of Islamic revolution/insurgency in Europe, he should be aware of the rules of insurgency. You need to provoke a violent overreaction by the ruling group, one that turns more of the target population against the rulers and closer to the insurgents.
By being mindful of the historical obsession of radical Islam with the Crusades (and by speaking to the *humanity* and God-given dignity of both perpetrators and victims), Pope Francis can deny radical Imams and radicalized Muslims exactly what they need from these murders — justification and propaganda ammo.
The author, on the other hand, is playing right into their hands.