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10 January 2018 | by Christopher Lamb

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AFTER ALMOST five years of his papacy, Pope Francis has come to a withering verdict on Western Europe. The first non-European Pope for over a millennium sees the people of the continent as complacent and self-referential and, for the most part, reluctant to welcome the thousands of refugees arriving on their shores. Europe’s families, he believes, should be open to having more children and  couples who choose otherwise are selfish.

While Benedict XVI focused relentlessly on trying to revive the faith of the old continent, Francis has not yet even set foot in the former Catholic heartlands of Spain or France, unless you count a four-hour trip to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, where he described Europe as “haggard” and like a “grandmother, no longer fertile and vibrant”.


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