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By Bob Sullivan, Crisis Magazine, Sept. 10, 2018
In the dark of an August night in 1961, the Russians threw up a barrier between East and West Berlin which came to be known as the Berlin Wall. On June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan stood at a podium in Berlin and delivered his famous speech, in which he said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” What President Reagan called for in 1987, became a reality in 1989, when the head of the East German Communist Party announced that citizens could pass through the wall without restriction as of midnight on November 9, 1989. Oppressed civilians immediately began using hammers and pick axes to remove the wall. The authorities came in with heavy equipment and manpower only after the unscheduled start of the demolition by civilians.
Walled cities have helped protect inhabitants from hostile attackers for centuries. Countries have walls as well. The Chinese, the British, and the Vatican all have defensive walls. More recent walls are those separating Palestinians from the rest of Israel and one being constructed along the U.S./Mexico border. Many international leaders, including Pope Francis, have frequently commented on walls. In February, 2017, Pope Francis told the general audience in St. Peter’s square, “In the social and civil context as well, I appeal not to create walls but to build bridges,” On March 18, 2017, he tweeted “I invite you not to build walls but bridges, to conquer evil with good, offence with forgiveness, to live in peace with everyone.” While Pope Francis is absolutely correct, it seems that he should follow his own advice.
Pope Francis has not constructed any physical walls, but he has been a master builder of an invisible wall which separates him from much of the Catholic Church. Unlike the brick and mortar wall surrounding Vatican City, Francis’s wall consists of ambiguity, inconsistency, passive-aggressiveness, and silence. He can be very clear on some matters, but when it comes to certain topics, he becomes vague, briefly stepping into the light, before slipping back into the shadows….continued…. https://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/tear-down-this-papal-wall-of-silence
Editor’s note: Pictured above, Pope Francis (L), flanked by Head of the Vatican press office, Greg Burke, addresses reporters during a press conference in flight between Ireland and Rome at the end of his two-day visit to Ireland on August 26, 2018. Pope Francis faced accusations by a former Vatican official (Viganò) that he had personally ignored allegations against senior clergy. (Photo by Gregorio BORGIA / POOL / AFP)