Robert Mugabe Papal Inauguration: Zimbabwean Strongman Visits Vatican

This one's right out of left field: through a convenient "religious grounds" loophole, Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe attended the inauguration of the new pope, Francis.

Mugabe, who turned 89 this February, is subject to an European Union travel ban which makes allowances for the Vatican. He arrived with a delegation in Rome yesterday, and attended the new pope's inauguration on Tuesday.

Where to begin? A ruthless dictator who has been in power since 1980, Mugabe has embraced the United Kingdom's comparison of his leadership to that of Hitler. During his reign, the Zimbabwean dollar has suffered from historic hyperinflation; at least 10,000 members of the urban poor in Harare have been left homeless; and life expectancy has fallen, since 1990, from 64 for men and women, to 37 and 34, respectively.

As someone who claims to champion the poor, Pope Francis should have seized this opportunity to make a stand against abusive political leaders. Mugabe's policies have consistently resulted in international sanctions levied against Zimbabwe. As the Church's first non-European leader, Pope Francis had a great opportunity to combat the prevalence of poverty and injustice in African and Latin American nations. It is not known what if any communication Francis and Mugabe had with one another. 

Sadly, Pope Francis and Mugabe do actually agree on one thing: neither of them support rights for gay people. The latter has gone on the record to state that homosexuals are "worse than dogs and pigs." In 2010, Pope Francis condemned a government-supported law in Argentina which legalized marriage and adoption by same-sex couples as "a war against God."

 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Nandini Balial

Born in New Delhi, India; after nine years, I pit-stopped in Fort Worth, Texas, for another nine years, and finally escaped the South to attend NYU and major in cinema studies. Likes include tea, sweets, all food, sleep, books, the newspaper, television and Netflix (and a few real people). Dislikes include science/numbers of any kind, lack of sweets, lack of sleep.

MORE FROM

Hillary Clinton says Republicans will be the "death party" if they pass health care bill

Hillary Clinton spoke out against the Republican's proposed bill on Twitter.

It's time to redefine the clitoris, according to sex education experts

"Words matter. They shape and mold our ideas and beliefs about our purpose, our bodies, our self-worth and our place in the world around us."

Al-Jazeera becomes a target amid Qatar diplomatic crisis

Gulf states are demanding the broadcaster be shut down.

5 blocks of London apartments to be evacuated over potentially flammable cladding

800 North London apartments will be evacuated following a fire inspection that turned up evidence that the buildings could be unsafe.

Tomi Lahren wants to rally women to her side after criticizing feminists and "pro-choicers"

"My view on abortion is not black-and-white," Lahren said.

These 5 states are drafting laws to limit protests on college campuses

The legislation is intended to protect free speech on campus.

Hillary Clinton says Republicans will be the "death party" if they pass health care bill

Hillary Clinton spoke out against the Republican's proposed bill on Twitter.

It's time to redefine the clitoris, according to sex education experts

"Words matter. They shape and mold our ideas and beliefs about our purpose, our bodies, our self-worth and our place in the world around us."

Al-Jazeera becomes a target amid Qatar diplomatic crisis

Gulf states are demanding the broadcaster be shut down.

5 blocks of London apartments to be evacuated over potentially flammable cladding

800 North London apartments will be evacuated following a fire inspection that turned up evidence that the buildings could be unsafe.

Tomi Lahren wants to rally women to her side after criticizing feminists and "pro-choicers"

"My view on abortion is not black-and-white," Lahren said.

These 5 states are drafting laws to limit protests on college campuses

The legislation is intended to protect free speech on campus.