It would be churlish to wish ill of either of these men – both elected to power yesterday with authority over billions of people. Communism and Roman Catholicism are both belief systems that profess sympathy for the poor and deprived as their initial point of inspiration. Mr Borgolio and Mr Xi talk of a desire to make our world a better place – fairer and less corrupt. One as the new Pope Francis I who now leads the World’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics and the new president of China, Xi Jinping who will lead the Chinese population of 1344.1 million Chinese.
How wonderful it would be if these two smiling figures, neither of them unaware of the condition of the World’s poor, could actually put into practice the basic tenets of Christianity and Communism where everyone should be equal in love, freedom and the fundamental economic means for healthy and happy lives. I believe that the early pioneers of both systems believed in those principles and I hope that these two newly powerful men do too.
Strange then that the Roman Catholic Church and the Chinese government are responsible for some of the most repressive and unforgiving policies in the modern world. While people in their respective medias celebrate new beginnings with hope, let’s not be churlish, OK, but let’s be realistic too. How many of us, “free-born” men and women, culturally unconnected with either system, would wish our lives dictated by the narrow dogmas and prejudices both institutions try to perpetuate in their zones of influence?
How many of us would really wish to entrust ourselves to the people newly elected to reign in these golden palaces? I wish them well, Pope and President, because I wish their people well. I wish their people luck too especially those of them whose lives don’t fit snuggly with their leaders’ beliefs and prejudices.