10 January 2019, The Tablet

Why patriotism must be underpinned by solidarity and subsidiarity


When Pope St John Paul II visited Argentina in 1982 shortly after its defeat in its battle with Britain over the Falkland Islands, he is reported to have told the country’s Catholic hierarchy that while patriotism was a virtue, it was wrong to feed it at the expense of someone else’s patriotism. He meant Britain’s, the country he had just visited. This was the voice of sanity in a troubled world. And it is recognisably the same voice used by an Argentine Pope in his annual address to the Vatican diplomatic corps last week. Global in its embrace, it may be the most important of its kind he – or any other person of influence in the modern world – has yet delivered.

Never has such a voice been more necessary. The rise of unprincipled nationalism, allied to xenophobia, is a serious threat to world peace. Those who exploit it for personal ends need to heed the dangers the Pope is pointing to before it is too late. He reminds the peoples of Europe not to forget the lessons of their history, particularly the collapse of international order in the 1930s with the failure of the League of Nations.

Pope Francis deplores “the re-emergence of tendencies to impose and pursue individual national interests without having recourse to the instruments provided by international law for resolving controversies and ensuring that justice is respected”. It is not wrong for nations to pursue their own interests.

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User Comments (1)

Comment by: Clarke
Posted: 10/01/2019 17:15:34
I find it next to impossible to find the ipad version in your new presentation.
When I do. I can't save it as before. Please help