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Tsipras’ meeting with the Pope was a big gaffe

25 September 2014 / 18:09:46  GRReporter
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The social networks in Greece have recently been full of ironic comments on the meeting of SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras with Pope Francis. They are inspired by the profound differences in how it was presented by the Greek left party headquarters on the one hand and by the speaker of the Vatican on the other.

According to information that leaked from SYRIZA the Pope had spoken on political issues during the meeting and statements such as "unfortunately the international elite rescues banks, not people" were attributed to him. In the unofficial text submitted to the media by the press office of SYRIZA, Pope Francis had even stated that "the speech of the new generation of politicians is like a melody to my ears."

By the end of the day of the meeting, the Vatican had not provided any information about it. A day later, its spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said, "The meeting with leader of the Greek SYRIZA party Alexis Tsipras and Austrian Walter Bayer was private rather than political. The discussion considered humanitarian and social issues. The meeting was part of the series of contacts of the two European Left leaders with the Focolare Movement at the dialogue level."

The lack of a picture of SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras with the Pope from the outset made many Greeks suspicious as to the nature of the meeting in the Vatican. These doubts were confirmed by the fact that the official schedule of Pope Francis for 18 September did not mention a meeting with Tsipras.

In fact, the statement by the spokesman of the Vatican sheds light on many details of the meeting that the Greek left party advertised on a large scale. The first is that Alexis Tsipras did not meet with the Pope alone but along with two other persons, namely former leader of the Austrian Communist Party and current coordinator of the European network of organizations with left theoretical orientation Transform Walter Bayer and Austrian Franz Kronreif. He is one of the leaders of the Focolare Movement which is an organization that operates under the auspices of the Vatican and aims to establish contact between the Catholic Church and people with non-Christian views and mostly atheists.  

As expected, the revelations caused the following reactions on the social networks:

"The Pope met with Tsipras in his role of an activist! Let's continue with the useful contacts. Let him meet with the Dalai Lama in the role of a guru and with Obama in that of a majorette."

The Facebook group "To paratiritirio" ("The Observatory") posted "pictures" of the event.

The inscription reads, "A photo, document, of Tsipras’ meeting with the Pope," and the text above the red circle, "Tsipras is right here."

Tags: PoliticsAlexis Tsiprasthe VaticanPope FrancisMeetingFocolare Movement
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