Even Pope Francis Can Smell That the World Is on Fire

By Jason Scott Jones Published on January 2, 2024

Many of us celebrated the joyous Christmas season with our near and dear ones. Christmas is also a time we hear holiday messages from world leaders. Catholics might well have read what Pope Francis had to say, while many in the English-speaking world might have read the comments of King Charles III. The contrast between those messages was striking.

Like many loyal Catholics, I have complained in the past of Pope Francis’ misplaced priorities, and his fixation on cozy “first world” problems, such as blessings for same-sex couples. Last year, the Pope paid minimal attention to the concentration camps in China, the slaughter in Ukraine, or the persecution of Christians across the globe.

However, this Christmas, the smoke from the world burning down seems to have wafted through the Vatican windows. And Pope Francis noticed.

Pope Francis’ Call for End of Violence in Gaza

Gaza has been marred by a long-standing conflict between Israel and Palestine. The recent escalation of violence significantly worsened the humanitarian situation. Innocent civilians have been subjected to lack of access to clean water, food shortages, inadequate healthcare, and homelessness. As Christians, we cannot mutely let innocent people be crushed under the rubble.

In his Christmas message, the Pope said:

My heart grieves for the victims of the abominable attack of 7 October last, and I reiterate my urgent appeal for the liberation of those still being held hostage. I plead for an end to the military operations with their appalling harvest of innocent civilian victims, and call for a solution to the desperate humanitarian situation by an opening to the provision of humanitarian aid.

The Pope also highlighted the plight of people in war-torn regions of Ukraine, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Sahel, the Horn of Africa, Sudan, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan.

By contrast, the nominal head of the global Church of England, King Charles III, seems to remain comfortably numb inside his royal bubble. He spoke of world problems, all right. But he did so with all the insight and compassion of a jaded aristocrat playing goatherd in 1789. Charles sang from the hymn sheet of our globalist elites, harmonizing with their inhuman call to strip the poor of fuel, based on the fake science of the Malthusian climate cult.

King Charles Sniffs at the Multiplying Hordes

King Charles peers through his handblown windows and sees a world … with too many peasants, too uppity and greedy, too eager to rise above their stations. They threaten to poach on the nobles’ nature preserves and dirty up the world with their shabby, ill-mannered children. See his deceptively uplifting Christmas message:

We care for the Earth for the sake of our children’s children. During my lifetime I have been so pleased to see a growing awareness of how we must protect the Earth and our natural world as the one home which we all share. … The Christmas story tells us that angels brought the message of hope first to shepherds. These were people who lived simply amongst others of God’s creatures. Those close to nature were privileged that night.

Strip away the pretty rhetoric penned by Oxford grad ghostwriters. What Charles is saying here is stark and shocking: That most of the world really ought to live as subsistence farmers with little access to technology that makes people’s lives longer, healthier, and richer. They ought to take comfort in the poverty which elites enforce on them by reflecting that it makes them closer to God. Or something.

Keep it Nasty, Brutish, and Short

The King praises the Shepherds because of their close connection to nature, even though the majority of people during the time of Jesus lived closely intertwined with the natural world. Most individuals led simple lives that relied on the nature that surrounded them — short, hard lives blighted by disease and rendered tragic by massive infant mortality. The exceptions were privileged aristocrats, elites whose modern equivalents are monarchs, financial oligarchs, and globalist power brokers. Don’t look for King Charles, Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates or George Soros to give up their high-tech health care and their climate-controlled palaces and go live in some shepherd’s hut.

King Charles’ messages in 2023 have been inundated with call for end to fossil fuels and adoption of economy-killing energy policies that if followed would kill the poor. At the recently concluded COP28 conference, the King said:

We are carrying out a vast, frightening experiment of changing every ecological condition, all at once, at a pace that far outstrips nature’s ability to cope … Our choice is now a starker, and darker, one: how dangerous are we actually prepared to make our world?

The choice he was referring to is the choice between fossil fuels and renewables. It assumes that ongoing emissions from human use of fossil fuels will render the planet uninhabitable. The King’s viewpoint on climate change significantly exaggerates the present climate circumstances.

Let the Grubby Poor Freeze in the Dark

Amidst the very real threat of deaths caused by wars and their consequences, the King focused instead on a purely speculative future, which thousands of scientists question. A cynical observer would suggest that this is mere sleight of hand: Pay no attention to the poor people suffering today. Just follow my plan, and soon there will be a whole lot fewer of them, and more room for elites to take eco-tourism vacations.

Cutting back on the use of fossil fuels could lead to major energy disruptions in advanced economies, as well as life-threatening crises in impoverished regions around the globe. Most of the countries referenced in the Pope’s Christmas address depend on fossil fuels to endure the winter season. If these individuals were to be without coal and oil during the cold winter, many of them will simply never see another Christmas.

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At the Vulnerable People Project, we have personally observed and can confirm the vital function of fossil fuels in supporting the lives of individuals in war-stricken regions around the globe. Furthermore, we have seen first-hand the devastating effects of war, which leads to the loss of livelihoods, creates orphaned children, and has long-term impacts on future generations. This experience of addressing multidimensional poverty has shown us the importance of establishing avenues for individuals to access not only fundamental necessities such as food, water, and clothing, but also heating resources like coal. That’s why we play Santa by delivering coal for Christmas.

Our work, however, is limited by circumstances such as the war in Gaza, which makes it extremely difficult for the aid to reach the neediest there. We must thank the Pope for the much-needed call for peace. War is a killer and when innocent civilians and children die, there is no rejoicing. God can turn our sorrows into joy. But we must act before more blood is spilled.


Jason Jones is a film producer, author, popular podcast host, and human rights worker. He is president of the Human-Rights Education and Relief Organization (H.E.R.O.), known for its two main programs The Vulnerable People Project and Movie to Movement. His latest book, The Great Campaign Against the Great Reset, will be released in Spring 2024.

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