One of the more distressing aspects of this Pontificate is how firmly Pope Francis believes things that simply are not true. A prime example of this is his oft repeated contention that most wars are caused by arms merchants, the old “merchants of death” theory of international conflict.
This was a fairly common meme in the thirties of the last century when it was argued with a straight face, in the wake of World War I disenchantment and the growth of pacifism in the democracies, that World War I had been caused by arms dealers and by governments eager to profiteer from war. Alas it was complete and utter rubbish and it is rubbish still. Of course it is important to the Pope that wars be caused by sinister cabals of greedy men who initiate conflicts to make money. This helps the Pope ignore the fact that most wars occur due to intractable differences between nations and people that are not amenable to negotiation. Such reality does not fit into the Pope’s ideological world view, and when reality comes into conflict with what the Pope believes, so much the worse for reality. Such a refusal to face facts can be harmful for an individual, it is disastrous for the Vicar of Christ.