Pope Francis, inviting prayers for Greece, on what really matters in politics

Greece is in arrears on its sizable debt, and Europe is busy trying to understand how to handle the crisis. One approach is the stance taken by German chancellor Angela Merkel, who—like her government’s hard-lined finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble—is showing little mercy for Greece, and putting “the rule of law and responsibility” above all else in determining how Europe should proceed.

But someone else appears to have a different understanding of what the first concern of politics should be. Pope Francis, addressing Greece’s “keenly felt human and social crisis,” invited the faithful to pray for the “beloved Green people” (who are predominantly not Catholic but Eastern Orthodox Christian). Bringing to the table an argument that seems to be forgotten in the negotiations, the high prelate reminds:

The dignity of the human person must remain at the center of any political and technical debate, as well as in the taking of responsible decisions.

In the past, the pope had strong words for Europe, accusing it of being more concerned about “trade and commerce” than about its humanistic values—a critique that feels all the more compelling in these late hours for the negotiations over Greece’s future.

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