Pope Francis is taking a stand against the populist authoritarianism that is spreading across the globe. 1 It is fair to say that the phenomenon challenges Rome's hegemony.

The Pope's message in a talk to the annual conference of the Technology, Entertainment, Design media organization held in Vancouver, British Columbia, seems to take aim directly at Donald Trump as well as other leaders:

Pope tells leaders in first TED talk: act humbly or power will ruin you

He sits behind a desk rather than pacing around a stage, but the power of his message is not diluted. Pope Francis has made a surprise TED talk, beamed from the Vatican to Vancouver, calling for leaders to act with humility and tenderness.

The first pontifical TED talk, which lasted 18 minutes, featured Francis dispensing advice to politicians and leaders of big business, as well as talking about his own background as the son of migrants. . .

He concluded with a direct message to people in positions of power: “The more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly. If you don’t, your power will ruin you and ruin the other.”

The pope also quoted an Argentinian proverb: “Power is like drinking gin on an empty stomach. You feel dizzy, you get drunk, you lose your balance, and you will end up hurting yourself and those around you if you don’t connect your power with humility and tenderness.”

Is the Pope the Anti-Trump?

ONE emerged from a crisis conclave, the other was elected after the strangest campaign in recent American history. Both have upended traditions and reached outside the usual channels to speak to the concerns of ordinary people. Donald J. Trump and Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the president and the pope, are the world’s most famous populists. But they are in conflict. . .

The pope’s populism is not intended for popularity — a fickle thing, and anyhow, his soars far above any politician’s — but proximity. This is a pope who likes to come in close.

As Europe’s borders stiffen and nativist movements gain footholds in elections, such bold assertions of universal humanity, backed by action, have made Francis a bridge maker in an age of wall building. In part because he anticipated the current political crisis long before it happened, his Greek-chorus commentary on the upheavals

matters. . .

Populist politicians, the pope said, promise to “give us back our identity and defend us with walls, with wires.” In a letter to Modesto, Calif., community organizers in February, he deplored political leaders who rely on “fear, insecurity, quarrels and even people’s justified indignation, in order to shift the responsibility for all these ills on to a ‘non-neighbor.’ ”

Pope Francis and President Trump provide rich material for contrast. One is, notwithstanding his weaknesses, a spiritual leader of extraordinary maturity; the other, his strengths aside, is a thin-skinned, petulant narcissist. One is a celibate who lives in simplicity and austerity, embracing the disabled and the diseased; the other is a thrice-married germophobe who lived in a gaudy gold tower and mocks the feeble.

And yet: The world’s two most compelling populists have more in common than some might admit. Take, for example, their extraordinary capacity for connection, bypassing traditional methods; their defiance of convention, even their iconoclasm; or their delight in challenging existing elites on behalf of the people. Both seem energized by opposition, even if they respond to it differently — Mr. Trump by ranting and belittling his critics; Francis never directly, but gently, in pointed asides.

Politically, too, they share a beef with globalism. Both, in the broadest sense, are nationalists. When Stephen K. Bannon, the White House chief strategist, says the United States is “not an economy just in some global marketplace with open borders” but rather “a nation with a culture and a reason for being,” he says nothing Francis has not expressed often. . .

Throughout his papacy, Francis has criticized the lack of that higher purpose in the technocratic liberal administrations of Europe and the Americas that have dominated since the 1980s. He deplores the way political principles have been replaced by market logic and how governments have failed to defend the interests and values of ordinary people. Speaking to Jesuits in Rome last October, he lamented the loss of “big politics,” the craft of making unity out of diversity and creating what he calls a “culture of encounter,” a society that integrates everyone — rather than a “throwaway culture” in which the poor and the unwanted are cast off. . .

Because both pope and president are critics of a neoliberal globalism that weakens local ties and benefits educated elites at the expense of the common man, the diametrical opposition of their visions is all the more striking.

The Trump-Bannon response is to chafe at the wounds of popular resentment, promising to relieve it by building walls, raising tariffs, shutting out migrants and dismantling the state to release the energies of popular capitalism. They underpin this plan with a commitment to nurture and promote a culture that is defined as white and Christian, framing globalist media elites as “enemies of the American people,” and Muslims and other foreigners as potential terrorists who dilute or threaten that culture. . .

In Francis’s post-neoliberal future, the poor of the world act with the church and civil-society organizations to create an economy that serves human flourishing, while calling on states to receive migrants in solidarity. In Mr. Trump’s post-neoliberal future, former chief executives, billionaire hedge-fund managers and real estate moguls dismantle the state to make capitalism yet more liquid, but use the state to stiffen borders.

That said, the kernel of the rift between the pope and the president is ultimately religious. Mr. Bannon believes the Catholic Church has to be rescued from Francis, whom he sees as part of the global elite (a description that would certainly surprise the pope). Mr. Trump’s chief ideologue has formed a curious alliance with Pope Francis’s archcritic, Raymond Burke, an American cardinal based in Rome, in their shared conviction that “Christian culture" is engaged in a deadly rivalry with Islam — the Samuel Huntington thesis, shared by the Islamic State, of an enduring “clash of civilizations.”

The author's statement that: "Politically, too, they share a beef with globalism" could be misleading. Globalism is at the heart of the Holy See's policies and actions, as manifested by the Pope's manic pursuit of ecumenical union of churches, religions, and nations. The following report captures the nuanced position of Pope Francis on globalism:

Pope Francis Weighs in on Merits of Globalization

Pope Francis has mostly stuck to his prepared remarks during his trip to the United States, but on Saturday afternoon he diverged.

In a speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the pope veered from a discussion of religious freedom and immigration and into a debate about the merits of globalization. Cultural homogenization, he warned, is not healthy, but working together is good for the world.

“If a globalization tries to make everybody even, as if it were a sphere, that globalization destroys the richness and the specificities of each person and each people,” he said. “If a globalization tries to unite everyone, but does so respecting each individual, each person, each richness, each specificity, respecting each people, that globalization is good and it enables us to keep growing and take us to peace.”

Speaking with passion on the subject, the pope said that when people are unified in a way that allows them to maintain their identities, they are strengthened.

“It is excellent, because people may grow,” he said. “It gives dignity to every man and women. It gives rights.”

Here is a description of the unity in diversity which is essential to Rome's objective of global domination. The statement in "Is the Pope the Anti-Trump?" above that: "In Francis’s post-neoliberal future, the poor of the world act with the church and civil-society organizations to create an economy that serves human flourishing" is significant. This identifies with the Roman Catholic Social Doctrine, and specifically the principle of Subsidiarity. 2

Not surprisingly, given the powerful influence of the Roman Catholic Church, "Is the Pope the Anti-Trump?" does not mention that the papacy and the Pope himself are authoritarian (Cf. Vatican City State; Vatican City: The Last Absolute Monarchy.) No matter how benign this Pope may appear to be, the annals of history are replete with the tyrannical policies and actions of Papal as well as Imperial Rome, (Cf. A Persecuting Power; ESTIMATES OF THE NUMBER KILLED BY THE PAPACY IN THE MIDDLE AGES AND LATER; CHRISTIANITY AND THE ROMAN EMPIRE.) Persecution of dissenters flowed from Rome's autocratic claim to rule by divine right. The Church of Rome has hidden the dragon's claws, but she has not changed.

Following Pope Francis' talk to the annual conference of the Technology, Entertainment, Design media organization, he went to Egypt in furtherance of his promotion of ecumenical union; where he again denounced ‘Demagogic’ Populism as well as sectarian violence:

'He brought his blessing to Egypt.' Pope Francis embraces Muslim leaders in two-day visit

Pope Francis left Egypt charmed after a high-stakes, two-day visit during which he embraced Muslim leaders, challenged religious extremists and waved to fans from a blue Fiat instead of his armored popemobile. . .

In Cairo, Francis Takes On ‘Demagogic’ Populism and Violence Masked as Piety

The pope invoked Egypt’s “glorious history” as an ancient cradle of civilization to argue on Friday that the delivery of a more peaceful future required a new civility that appreciated differences, resisted the violent path of close-minded absolutism and condemned extremists who camouflage terror in religious language.

“An education in respectful openness and sincere dialogue with others, recognizing their rights and basic freedoms, particularly religious freedom, represents the best way to build the future together, to be builders of civility,” the pope said in a speech at a conference hosted by Al Azhar, perhaps the most influential center of Muslim learning and religious formation in Sunni Islam. . .

Francis also seemed to be pointing his message at the world powers. In a time where anti-establishment forces are gaining in Europe and the United States, the pope seemed to have a sharp message for Western leaders who have found electoral support in antagonizing Islam. “Demagogic forms of populism are on the rise. These certainly do not help to consolidate peace and stability,” he said. . .

Muslim clerics poured out of the hall where Francis spoke, its walls covered in geometric Islamic patterns, and offered rave reviews of the pope’s address.

Many saw his outstretched hand as a powerful repudiation of the view, prevalent in parts of Western society, that Islam and violence are intimately intertwined.

“This was more than just a meeting between two people — it was a meeting of religions. I loved the logical way that Francis spoke,” said Ahmed Ramzy el Sabbagh, a cleric in the red-and-white skullcap worn by scholars at Al Azhar.

This visit of the Pope to Egypt clearly served the double purpose of advancing ecumenical union of religions and also to deliver "a sharp message" to "the anti-establishment forces" gaining influence "in Europe and the United States," and the "Western leaders who have found electoral support in antagonizing Islam." In this context, Donald Trump is by far the most important of these Western leaders. Will there be an increasingly more adversarial relationship between him and Pope Francis?

1 It is reasonable to think that Putin's Russia would be excepted, since ecumenical union with the Russian Orthodox Church is at stake.

2 Quadragesimo anno presents these “spheres” as occupying the space between the poles of individual and State: "...things have come to such a pass through the evil of what we have termed “individualism” that, following upon the overthrow and near extinction of that rich social life which was once highly developed through associations of various kinds, there remain virtually only individuals and the State. This is to the great harm of the State itself; for, with a structure of social governance lost, and with the taking over of all the burdens which the wrecked associations once bore. the State has been overwhelmed and crushed by almost infinite tasks and duties." These associations or “lesser societies” are encouraged because they are the vehicle by which society functions most effectively and corresponds most closely with human dignity. Examples of these associations today would include the family, unions, nonprofit organizations, religious congregations, and corporations of all sizes. (Underscored emphasis added; from Subsidiarity (Catholicism).)