February 19, 2016

The Vatican "isn’t all surrounded by walls, and it’s not like you need a separate visa or a passport to enter."

"You wouldn’t know, almost, when you even entered Vatican City. There is a white line painted on the ground in St. Peter’s Square, but that kind of thing is not obvious everywhere."
There are, to be sure, formidable walls in Vatican City, and much of of the site, including the gardens and the modest guesthouse that is home to Francis, is set behind them. But the walls do not entirely enclose the city-state, and in the modern era they are not meant to, historians said.
The NYT pushes back the "Pope Francis, tear down that wall!" crowd.
“Anybody can walk into St. Peter’s Square — that’s the whole point of it,” said [Gerard Mannion, a professor of Catholic Studies at Georgetown University in Washington]. “It was designed to be welcoming and to draw people in like two open arms, to draw them into the heart of the church.”...

Walls like those found in some parts of the Vatican were a fixture in almost every significant city of the medieval period, including London, Paris and Jerusalem, said [Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, also a Catholic studies professor at Georgetown'.

“The walls are a fortification, there is no question, but they were a fortification built at a time when armed invasions by barbarians and other forces were happening,” she said. “And that is not the same thing we are talking about with a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.”
To tear down those walls would be to destroy historically significant structures. Destruction like that, for symbolic purposes, is like what ISIS did when it razed Palmyra!

The preservation of historical structures — whatever they might symbolically mean — is dramatically different from the question whether to build something new.

"Pope Francis, tear down that wall!" might seem funny at first, but look again. You are unwittingly giving support to the terrorists who blow up temples and sledgehammer statues.

134 comments:

sydney said...

Nice attempt at diversion by the New York Times (and also same meme in our local newspaper's front page this morning), but the wall comment is the problematic part of the Pope's pronouncement. It was judging someone else's heart and calling them "not Christian." Now, the Pope can ex-communicate people from the Catholic faith, but he can't judge who has a Christian heart. Only God can judge that. And, I note, no Pope has ex-communicated a Catholic politician for supporting the slaughter of the unborn.

iqvoice said...

If the pontiff-in-chief wants to go around calling people "not Christian", he is open to these attacks. The fact is, the Vatican and everything in it is unbiblical. If a manger filled with hay was good enough for our Lord & Savior, why does the Vatican need millions of dollars of paintings, sculptures, and vestments adorned with gold and jewels? The Christian thing to do would be to auction off the whole lot, and give the proceeds to the poor. Until the Pope does so, I say HE is the one who isn't Christian.

Ann Althouse said...

I am addressing the people who made the argument that the Vatican is surrounded by a wall. There is a post yesterday dealing with some of these other issues. Please stay on the topic framed in the post. I am reading the first few comments, which try to change the subject, as implicitly conceding that the Pope-has-a-wall argument is rotten. If you think otherwise, say why. Don't say but something else is actually what's bad.

MikeR said...

"they were a fortification built at a time when armed invasions by barbarians and other forces were happening. And that is not the same thing we are talking about with a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.” So walls to stop invasions are okay, but she gets to decide which ones.
Is there anyone who thinks that the no-walls policy of Europe is anything but a disaster? How will the Catholic Church react when Europe once again has Nazis getting rid of the immigrants they once welcomed?

Rob said...

Try settling in Vatican City as an undocumented resident. (Take your sleeping bag.) You'll be escorted back across the border in a New York minute. So much for sanctuary.

TCom said...

Does the Vatican let the visitors over that beautiful white line stay forever and give them free money?

Ann Althouse said...

@Rob But that's not because of a wall.

jaydub said...

You can walk into the square uninhibited, but try to enter St Peter's without going through a metal detector or the Vatican Museum without a ticket or at the wrong time. In fact, try to go unimpeded anywhere else in the Vatican without following the rules. More to the point, the walls are there keep people from entering anywhere except authorized entry points where they are screened and contolled. So, maybe the Pope or the NYT can explain the practical difference between the Vatican walls and controlled entry points and a US/Mexican border fence and controlled entry points?

Michael P said...

The Vatican shouldn't destroy the walls it has. But it does still have them -- so it is still hypocritical for the pope to criticize other countries who want walls, especially when immigrating to the Vatican City is basically impossible for reasons above and beyond the walls. Maybe the pope would lend us enough Swiss Guards to station one every 10 feet along the US/Mexican border?

Ann Althouse said...

Trump has made a huge deal out of building a huge wall the whole way across. That's his signature idea.

iqvoice said...

So does it matter whether the wall is made of stone and mortar, or one made from laws? I don't see the Vatican absorbing millions of illegal immigrants, like the United States is expected to do. Instead, the Vatican has one of the strictest immigration policies in the world. What about that wall? Fact is, if a bunch of illegals tried to setup a tent city in the Vatican, the Swiss Guard would toss them out. So I still see a "wall" of hypocrisy coming from the Pope.

Rob said...

@Rob But that's not because of a wall.

Physical wall or virtual wall, it amounts to the same thing. Vatican City maintains its territorial integrity against those who, without official authorization, seek to reside there.

Ann Althouse said...

Am I the only one who worries about the wall as aesthetically and ecologically troubling?

Ann Althouse said...

"So does it matter whether the wall is made of stone and mortar, or one made from laws? I don't see the Vatican absorbing millions of illegal immigrants, like the United States is expected to do. Instead, the Vatican has one of the strictest immigration policies in the world. What about that wall? Fact is, if a bunch of illegals tried to setup a tent city in the Vatican, the Swiss Guard would toss them out. So I still see a "wall" of hypocrisy coming from the Pope."

Occupy Vatican.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Serious question. What is the immigration and naturalization policy of the Vatican (or whatever the government there is called)? Do they practice open borders?

I'm guessing I know the answer because the "state" is so small it can't support many people.

Also how many Syrian refugees has the Vatican taken in? I'm guessing they have taken in a large number of migrants. Where do they live and work?

And Althouse how can you be so stupid and arrogant at the same time? Comparing a call to tear down the walls as supporting ISIS. First the calls are in jest. Second there us a big difference asking the owners to do something and killing the owners and doing it yourself.

Bay Area Guy said...

The NY Times to the rescue! The self-appointed arbiter of all things true and just -- sees the boomerang effect on their favorite liberal Pope, tries to intercede a la Candy Crowley with esoteric discussion on Vatican walls. When is a wall truly a wall? When is a Christian truly a Christian? But it's too late. The Donald trumps the Pope!

In the immortal words of Kevn Costner in Fields of Dreams- "If you build it, they WON'T come"

TCom said...

Ann, are aesthetics more important to you than the maintenance of our country?

What was the ecological impact of the great Wall of China?

Answer: Nobody cares.

Curious George said...

"To tear down those walls would be to destroy historically significant structures. Destruction like that, for symbolic purposes, is like what ISIS did when it razed Palmyra!

The preservation of historical structures — whatever they might symbolically mean — is dramatically different from the question whether to build something new.

"Pope Francis, tear down that wall!" might seem funny at first, but look again. You are unwittingly giving support to the terrorists who blow up temples and sledgehammer statues."

God this is moronic.

Tank said...

This idea that people visiting the Vatican is the same thing as millions of people invading another country and de facto setting their immigration policy is about as false a comparison as you're going to see.

I was among those saying "tear down that wall." I did not mean it literally. In fact, I don't really think the Vatican should do that. But I think we should have a wall. We should be able to decide who comes in and who does not, not have it decided for us by people sneaking in. Whatever the US immigration policy is, we should set it, not the invaders.

The Vatican does not let invaders choose to move into the Vatican and suck up its wealth. If they want to encourage us to do that, let them "tear down their wall" (not literally) and let the invaders in there to. Go on, invite a million Muslims in today Pope Dope.

amielalune said...


Can anybody live in St. Peter's Square? Do they get welfare and food stamps from the Vatican if they do? Inquiring minds want to know.

CStanley said...

I'd say the weak part of the argument presented in the NYT piece is the assertion that the protective walls were valid in the time that they were built because of armed invasions by barbarians, as though there aren't real security concerns now.

For my part, I'm more on the pope's side than Trump's here but I do think that any opposition to Trump should acknowledge that a nation should do what is necessary to protect its citizens.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

You are unwittingly giving support to the terrorists who blow up temples and sledgehammer statues.

Bullshit. There is a yuge difference between one religious group destroying the historical religious artifacts of another, and a group arguing that a group should destroy their own historical religious artifacts if they believe their current rhetoric.

tola'at sfarim said...

the purpose of a wall is to make specific entrances which can be monitored/funnel invaders. I assume even trumps wall will still keep border crossings etc. So not much diff than the vaticans wall

Quaestor said...

Entering is one thing. Staying is entirely something else, particularly for non-Catholics. Let the Pope put a few ex-IDF grunts in the Swiss Guard, then he's got standing.

The Vatican has too many sins against genuine refugees fleeing imminent threat of extermination to be so cocky. If you were a converso the Vatican might help finagle you a Brazilian visa, but an observant Jew, or worse still, a secular Israelite -- fuhgeddaboudit.

traditionalguy said...

Never tear down good walls. Good walls make good neighbors that are civilized.

Borders are boundary markers that say no crossing is allowed here. That statement must also be enforced by a will to communicate the Boundary to others who are willing not trespass it once they know where it is located. Those who will trespass anyway come not but to kill, steal and destroy and are known as Progressive Democrats. What is a rape law but another border around women and children?

Michael P said...

We need an aesthetically appealing, ecologically friendly wall. One we can be proud of, that might even become a tourist attraction. And we should recognize who will be paying for this wall. Ladies and gentlemen, President Donald Trump gives you.. The Great Wall of Mexico.

CStanley said...

Besides, look at it this way- maybe if Trump wins the election and builds a wall, in a dozen centuries or so perhaps it will no longer be necessary as a barrier. But think of the cultural heritage!

Basically this is all silly- the real issue is, what should we do to protect our nation's interests?

Quaestor said...

Am I the only one who worries about the wall as aesthetically and ecologically troubling?

Which wall is that?

n.n said...

They aren't even a little curious about the cause of mass exodus. The Pope seems a bit oblivious to the people's condition also. Think of the disenfranchised citizens. Think of the aborted and cannibalized babies that excessive immigration has supported.

The New York Times is traditionally a servant of the pro-choice cult. They're attacks on Americans, Europeans, etc. is expected. That the Pope has also adopted this doctrine is not unheard of, but signals a change that recalls recurring shifts to left-wing ideology.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

You are unwittingly giving support to the terrorists who blow up temples and sledgehammer statues.

I blame Moses. He set a bad precedent with that whole golden calf thing.

Rob said...

The Times is pretty blasé about the necessity for visitors to "show some form of identification to a guard and explain the purpose of their visit." ID? That's undemocratic in the extreme. What about the hardship of those who have no ID being required to obtain one?

mikeyes said...

Who'd want to live in the Holy See? It has the highest crime per capita rate in the world.

David Begley said...

People visiting Vatican City don't take up residence and drive wages down of those legally residing in the city-state. They are visitors and they go home at the end of the day.

tds said...

Pope has just reminded us, that infrastructure construction (bridges) is more urgent matter than real estate construction (walls and fences) which is doing o-kay.

traditionalguy said...

Trump was up all night thinking again. Look out Rome.

Now he wants to build a Trump Tower at The Vatican. It could be a great new Hotel and Condo Complex. The old Papa guy can have the top floor Life Estate with Reversion to Franklin Graham. Then the Old Vatican and its treasures will b made into a combination Huge amusement park and Monument Tour.

Anglelyne said...

The NYT pushes back the "Pope Francis, tear down that wall!" crowd.

The NYT continues to ever more frantically promote distraction from real issues.

This is stupid stuff, but this morning brought what may be the New York Timesiest headline and article yet written.

Headline: A Donald Trump Victory Could Clash With South Carolina’s Self-Image.

I burst out laughing and spit my coffee when I saw that. My husband came over to see what was up, and he did the same. The article is even funnier. We need a new word or phrase to describe this sort of thing. It's beyond concern trolling - just too dumb, earnest, and self-unaware to qualify even as that.

I Callahan said...

You are unwittingly giving support to the terrorists who blow up temples and sledgehammer statues.

No, we're not. We're just pointing out the hypocrisy of the Holy See. No one is actually agitating for the Vatican to tear down any walls.

Tank said...

Don't like a wall?

Maybe a moat. With crocs.

And machine guns.

Or, no wall, no moat, bring 10,000 troops back from Germany, Japan and Korea, and put them on our border for ACTUAL security purposes.

Unknown said...

On the ecology front, it has been noted that the red deer along the former border between the Bayerischer Wald and the Czech republic still observe the border and will not cross it, many deer-generations after the fence and the wire were taken away.

I Callahan said...

Ann, are aesthetics more important to you than the maintenance of our country?

I have an idea. When the wall along the US/Mexico border is built, let's just make sure it's aesthetically pleasing.

Problem solved!!

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I thought building walls was the new cool thing to do. Don't we want to be like Europe? Even Denmark (the Mecca of socialism according to Sanders) is building walls.

ddh said...

Listening to Donald Trump and his fans makes you say stupid things.

AllenS said...

Ann Althouse said...
Am I the only one who worries about the wall as aesthetically and ecologically troubling?

Always remember that when Trump says he's going to build a wall, he might be talking in a way that figuratively means metaphorically, and literally means something that actually was physically built.

Both ideas work for me.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Maybe a moat. With crocs

Sharks with friggin laser beams!

Quaestor said...

The preservation of historical structures — whatever they might symbolically mean — is dramatically different from the question whether to build something new.

Dramatically? Only if one is prone to drama.

Walls are appropriate where walls are needed. No wall was needed until the elites in this country decided to "repeal" our immigration laws by simply ignoring them. The elites in Mexico were glad to oblige since the one-way open border serves them as a cost-free anti-poverty program. The Democrats get a brand new dependent class to work their plantations, and the Criollos are rid of the -- shall we say more pungent classes. A win-win all around.

Oso Negro said...

Professor - yes, the Great Wall of Trump would be displeasing to look upon. But more offensive to my mind is the lack of national will to control the border or to observe the rule of law. The corrosion of rule of law is the worst of all. If we wanted, we could have a straightforward guest worker agreement with Mexico. Clean criminal record, means of support, get a work permit, but no access to US welfare benefits. The Mexicans would have to handle the health care portion somehow. But if they really wanted to, the could build Mexican charity hospitals in Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, etc and offer MEXICAN paid healthcare for Mexicans.

John said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...

Am I the only one who worries about the wall as aesthetically and ecologically troubling?

Yes.

Why aesthetically troubling? You have no idea yet what it will look like, do you? I suspect that in some placed it may be a wall, in others a fence, in others natural barriers. No wall is needed when the border is at the base of a 100' cliff, for example.

Ecologically troubling? You are the first person I have ever heard ask that. Could you elaborate?

I think you are the first person I've seen have trouble with the what the wall looks like, too.

John Henry

n.n said...

Ignoring the causes of mass emigration from second and third-world nations implies support for policies that precipitate their creation. The Pope needs to address the mass exodus, environmental walls that force people into urban ghettos, and related "final solution" advanced by anti-native factions. As well as disenfranchisement through excessive immigration and progressive corruption through illegal immigration.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, are aesthetics more important to you than the maintenance of our country?"

1. Trump himself stresses and promises aesthetics: "It will be a beautiful wall."

2. You're presenting 2 ends as if they are means. Even if X end is more important than Y end, it doesn't mean that anything done to achieve X should be done regardless of the effect on Y.

3. There are endless ways of pursuing X and Y. If you don't think the pursuit of X and Y can be coordinated, I don't trust you wielding political power. What if X and Y are security and liberty?

4. This list could go on, but I'll stop now. You know I'm right.

Unknown said...

I'm seeing comments all over the Interwebs about the Vatican City walls. Most are only semi-informed, but I choose the Althouse blog to set the record straight!
If you go to Rome (Althouse, I know you won't, and I don't blame you, I never travel to places where I don't know anyone), you will see that the various walls all over Rome from various periods are, almost without exception, fully public spaces on both sides. The glaring exception is Vatican City. Those humongous wall surrounds a large, beautiful garden--a genuinely yuuuge garden, look at it on Google Earth--for the private use of one person.
Yes, you can go pretty in and out of the front of St Peter's (though far less freely than in the past, thanks to the deranged and murderous thugs sponsored by our "ally" Saudi Arabia), but you can't go THROUGH St. Peter's and out the back. You can't really go into the Vatican, just in and back out of pockets open to the outside.
If they wanted, the Church could open up Vatican City so that the public could access both sides of the wall, like people do in the rest of Rome.

Alexander said...

The Vatican's wall was built by Pope Saint Leo IV because - you can't make this shit up - Muslims sacked the Vatican in 846.

What's old is new again!

bgates said...

"Pope Francis, tear down that wall!" might seem funny at first, but look again. You are unwittingly giving support to the terrorists who blow up temples and sledgehammer statues.

Criticizing other people in print is what Hitler did to the Jews in Mein Kampf, you know.

But in a sense you're right - getting the Pope to destroy the wall around the Vatican would be giving support to ISIS, given that the wall encircling the Vatican was originally erected in response to a raid by bloodthirsty Arab Muslim savages.

Trump has made a huge deal out of building a huge wall the whole way across - no, he hasn't. Just as the Vatican is not totally encircled by a wall, so Trump does not want to totally encircle America by a wall. Just the part that borders Mexico. Even setting aside coastlines and places outside the contiguous US, that's less than half of the perimeter of the country.

Real American said...

no one is seriously suggesting that the Vatican tear down its wall. People are just pointing out the Pope's hypocrisy.

Ann Althouse said...

"Why aesthetically troubling? You have no idea yet what it will look like, do you? I suspect that in some placed it may be a wall, in others a fence, in others natural barriers. No wall is needed when the border is at the base of a 100' cliff, for example."

I think there's a lot of open country in America and I don't like the idea of a wall slicing through such a long huge length of it. It seems very ugly to me, even without factoring in the aesthetics of the symbolism. What makes man think he can impinge on nature so brutally?

"Ecologically troubling? You are the first person I have ever heard ask that. Could you elaborate?"

I'm thinking of the plants and animals that flow back and forth within those areas. I'm not hearing anyone talk about this. Where's the ecological impact analysis? What about the snakes and lizards and small mammals? What about birds and insects? What about the flow of water? Are we really supposed to think realistically about this building project? It seems like something that mainly exists in the mind.

John said...

The wall could be be a single strand of wire. electrify it like a cow fence so that people don't miss it. Big "PELIGRO NO PASA/DANGER DO NOT PASS" signs every 10 feet or so.

The next 100 yards is a minefield.

Anyone who has the guts to try the minefield and is able to make it through automatically gets a greencard.

John Henry

n.n said...

We don't need a wall. The second and third-world nations need to fix the problems in their societies. The first-world nations need to stop practicing abortion rites, engaging in clinical cannibalism, establishing environmental refuges that selectively penalize people, constructing congruences, and tolerating class diversity policies that deny individual dignity.

Quaestor said...

Consider Hadrian's Wall, that's a pretty good model for what we need. That ancient structure was pierced by dozens of gates. There were legionary cohorts posted to duty on the Wall, but they were there mainly as a construction crew with occasional police and customs inspection duties. They were never strong enough to repel a determined Pictish invasion, which wasn't the Wall's purpose in any case. Hadrian had his wall built to demarcate the Empire's territorial ambitions and to regulate trade and immigration, which sums up Trump's Wall rather nicely.

As for aesthetic and ecological concerns Hadrian's Wall, or more accurately its foundations, is the most interesting thing in an otherwise rather monotonous Northumbrian moorland. The wildlife is blissfully unheeding of the entire edifice. In fact if it weren't for the Wall the badgers would have fewer dens.

John said...

Would the single wire strand satisfy your aesthetic requirements, Ann? Practically invisible.

As is the minefield.

John Henry

PB said...

Anyone crossing your border without your permission is at the least a trespasser, but when a large number of people cross without permission, it's right to call it an invasion.

MadisonMan said...

When the daughter was in Rome, wandering and somewhat lost, she did find herself in St Peters square, without having known she crossed the border, and it turned out the Pope was out in his Popemobile at the time and he drove within spitting distance of her. It was a thrill for her.

So what wall, would be my reply to the Tear Down the Wall people. Alternatively, one could ignore them for 2 minutes, and their short attention span will be diverted by the next outrage!!! shortly.

Michael said...

There is indeed a wall around much of the Vatican but at the same time people can walk in St. Peters' Square. People can also come to the United States and visit. They do this by coming through customs with their passports in hand. People do this almost every day of the week. It is not permitted to come and live in St. Peters Square.

These are not difficult concepts. We have permitted the use of the word "immigrant" to include those who illegally walk into the country thus conflating the legal with the illegal. We are a bit of a foolish nation.

Hadrian, who built the wall in Britain, also built the Bridge of Angels that archs into the Vatican. Symbolism abounds.

Quaestor said...

What makes man think he can impinge on nature so brutally?

Nature's complete and total disinterest in our survival as a species has a lot to do with it. Please evict Mother Nature from your brain. She doesn't pay enough rent, and she's a bad influence on the other tenants.

Michael said...

Althouse wrote:"I think there's a lot of open country in America and I don't like the idea of a wall slicing through such a long huge length of it. It seems very ugly to me, even without factoring in the aesthetics of the symbolism. What makes man think he can impinge on nature so brutally? "

Christo

Bob Boyd said...

Someday the wall will be a historically significant structure just like the Vatican wall.

ISIS only tears down historically significant structures because it's too late to not build them in the first place.

So by arguing against the wall you are unwittingly giving support to the terrorists who would stop us building a wall to keep them out if they could.

Saint Croix said...

It's weird to me how literal everybody is being over the Pope's words. That's like some dummy going around with mustard seeds, throwing them at people. "Mustard seeds! Here are some mustard seeds for you! It's all about the mustard seeds!"

sydney said...

"There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbours."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbours? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down."
-Robert Frost, Mending Wall

Anglelyne said...

Oso Negro: The Mexicans would have to handle the health care portion somehow. But if they really wanted to, the could build Mexican charity hospitals in Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, etc and offer MEXICAN paid healthcare for Mexicans.

The whole point of the exercise is to remove these obligations from wealthier Mexicans and dump them on the American middle-class. So, no, they don't really want to.

That said, I'm delighted that we've moved on to arguing about preferred solutions to the aesthetic and environmental impact of the wall, now that we've all agreed that it needs to be built.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

"There is more nobility in building a chicken coop than in destroying a cathedral."

jaydub said...

There's a lot of ignorance being spouted here, including by our hostess. Access to the Vatican is NOT open and unguarded. If you don't believe it, look at the following two Google street views of the only two entrances to Vatican City, both of which are gated and guarded.

https://www.google.es/maps/@41.9011923,12.4566316,3a,15y,312.37h,86.82t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sTJfrdXHAvFOyjSQR0jTywg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1?hl=en

https://www.google.es/maps/@41.9039759,12.4577088,3a,25.4y,265.1h,85.53t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1scoqAPoppTV2ik5WdwoQK8w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1?hl=en

AA: "Am I the only one who worries about the wall as aesthetically and ecologically troubling?" Here's a google street view of that "aesthetically pleasing wall" around the Vatican in one section. Notice the elegant iron fencing along the top where the original wall was considered to be too low.

https://www.google.es/maps/@41.9055606,12.4578626,3a,38.5y,268.87h,92t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1shI0Sz7QItS1Jb0u0a1TL1A!2e0!6s%2F%2Fgeo2.ggpht.com%2Fcbk%3Fpanoid%3DhI0Sz7QItS1Jb0u0a1TL1A%26output%3Dthumbnail%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26thumb%3D2%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D159.65866%26pitch%3D0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

The Vatican wall is not some historic artifact that is only being retained out of aesthetic considerations. It's a security wall that is part of a fortress, and if it didn't exist, the Pope would have a fence built in its place. Anyone who thinks Those iron bars on the top of the wall or the iron gates at the two entrances to the Vatican are there for anything other than security is delusional. Whatever you think about Trump, and I don't think much, the Pope's comments on the wall were disingenuous and politically motivated. He's a hypocrite on this issue, and the NYT is carrying his water.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Am I the only one who worries about the wall as aesthetically and ecologically troubling?

It's crude and ugly and will never get built, so no, I don't worry about it.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...


I think there's a lot of open country in America and I don't like the idea of a wall slicing through such a long huge length of it.


Now there is a special kind of dumb. Althouse you do realize that the other side of the wall is not America? You think Trump is building a wall through the peairie? No wonder you are so emotionally opposed to it?

Daniel Richwine said...

If Trump builds the wall, in 2,000 years it will be considered a historical landmark, like China's wall.

CatherineM said...

I just can not believe the stupidity of all of this and the over reaction. The Pope said said something stupid, but it's his opinion. If Trump were normal and thoughtful he might have replied, "That's his opinion, and I disagree. Next."

holdfast said...

It's funny how sophisticated and nuanced Libs get all literal when discussing Trump's wall. Like they suddenly can't do metaphors, despite years of explaining to us rubes why Obama's latest oral ejaculation was actually brilliant on some fifth dimensional level despite sounding like pig-ignorant bilge to us mere mortals.

57 states.

Corpse-man.

Speaking Austrian.

William said...

The good citizens of Attica also said "Tear down thus wall". Perhaps the Vatican Wall serves to isolate the pedophile enablers. Are we prepared to let loose men like Cardinal Law on an unwary public?

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Thanks, Michael. Ann love Christo though she used to hate him.

Years ago, I hated Christo. I thought of him as arrogant and elitist, but I don't think that anymore. As I said back when Christo put up "The Gates" in Central Park:
I must admit that's what I thought of Christo for decades, as I read about his projects in various news reports. But I completely changed my mind about him when I watched the Maysles Brothers documentaries ("5 Films About Christo and Jeanne-Claude" ...). I was won over and came to believe that Christo is an art saint.
I think part of the art is the interaction with the local people and the authorities. I think of it as including a performance art component that is about law.


So I guess if the wall was designed up by a phartist perhaps Ann would be OK with it.

What it seems to come down to is that Ann is OK with open borders and illegal aliens.

Right Ann?

You criticize the wall, saying that you think a wall to keep people out is a horrible idea. Yet you offer no alternatives to preventing illegal aliens.

Is there a better way than a wall?

John Henry

dbp said...

If we build a wall between the US and Mexico, in a few hundred years it too will be historic and valued as such.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said..."Pope Francis, tear down that wall!" might seem funny at first, but look again. You are unwittingly giving support to the terrorists who blow up temples and sledgehammer statues.

That's silly. You're being silly. I thought the "if you do X, the terrorist will win/will have won" arguments were supposed to be discredited now, anyway--or is that only when they're used by the Right?

It's a false analogy anyway, as even a moment's contemplation will make clear--temporary visitors/tourists aren't at all the same thing as permanent or semi-permanent migrants...on top of which of course the visitors who enter Vatican City do so LEGALLY while those Trump wants to keep out enter the US ILLEGALLY. One might think a distinction like that should matter to someone who cares about the law.

As I said: silly.

EDH said...

"I can't believe that guy let us in, what a retard."

rehajm said...

It's funny how sophisticated and nuanced Libs get all literal when discussing Trump's wall. Like they suddenly can't do metaphors, despite years of explaining to us rubes why Obama's latest oral ejaculation was actually brilliant on some fifth dimensional level despite sounding like pig-ignorant bilge to us mere mortals.

It's really just this. When I see the left losing their minds over Obama's line in the sand or Bernie's free tuition I'll tune in.

rehajm said...

When I see the left losing their minds over Obama's line in the sand or Bernie's free tuition I'll tune in.

Although the image of Obama jetting off to the middle east to scrape the heel of his loafer in the dirt is pretty funny.

dbp said...

The beauty of a wall is not that it keeps anyone out. Any Mexican can come across a border crossing with a visa after all. The benefit to us is that if they cross at an official site, we know who came and if/when they left. This is a huge aid to immigration enforcement.

Any time anyone comes into contact with the government at any level: Traffic stop, food stamp application, school registration, drivers license etc. The name is run against a database of over-stayers and if they have not previously applied for asylum, they are detained and deported.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

If I didn't think you were just being silly I'd say you need to think deeply about the purpose and function of different barriers and how those affect our moral judgement of the barriers themselves. A wall keeping East Germans in is morally different from a wall keeping potential bank robbers out, for instance. Additionally when we use "wall" as metaphor or synecdoche for "barriers to entry/joining" we're clearly not discussing just the literal, physical object. Neither, obviously, is the Pope: his "bridges" reference is also a metaphor. It's silly, then, to insist that we ignore the metaphor and argue only whether the Vatican has a physical wall around it.

Can you walk freely through all areas Vatican City, or are some off limits? Can you as a visitor vote in some election to decide who makes decisions/sets policy for Vatican City? Can you draw benefits from Vatican City merely by being present within its painted lines?

The Vatican has rules and restrictions around who can go where. The Vatican has guards, and locked doors, and other barriers to entry. No one disputes the Vatican's right (moral nor legal) to have those barriers. Those constitute a "wall," and it's silly to ignore the very obvious metaphor.

Tom said...

I just visited the Vatican. And I don't care about the walls. But, I didn't see a lot of illegal immigrants or refugees there. In the words of Sir Paul McCartney, "open the door... and let them in."

Saint Croix said...

Interesting backstory on Donnie's fight with the Pope.

"I don't think he understands the danger of the open border that we have with Mexico," said Trump. "I think Mexico got him to do it because they want to keep the border just the way it is. They're making a fortune, and we're losing."

Donnie's argument (I think) is that people are coming over the border to find work, and they are sending that money home to their families. Thus, Mexico is "making a fortune" and "we're losing."

I think if Donnie is president, he will be inordinately concerned with money. He puts money above people, obviously. And of course Donnie is not the only one who does this. The unelected branch of our government defines corporations as people, while defining an unborn baby as property. I suspect Donnie is a secret abortion-supporter. He's the sort of mind, like the the Freakonomics guys and Dick Posner, who likes the idea of the poor aborting their own children. Save money! Babies are expensive! Indeed, I think money, not feminism, is at the root of what Harry Blackmun was doing. That's why he wanted the state to pay for abortions. He saw it as an economic issue.

Note too the assumption that illegal immigrants are coming over here to steal. Seeing human beings as criminals, robbers, thieves, is what motivates his wall. He wants to protect his money. Notably, he is saying nothing about how these desperate people are being used by corporations. That's why so many corporate interests like illegal immigration--cheap labor. Trump does not attack these corporations. They have money! Why would Trump attack anybody with money? Donnie's addled, irrational mind sees the poor as a threat, and they must be stopped.

This is why Donnie is pro-abortion, and wants to build a wall. He wants to get rid of the poor. Not by helping them find jobs and achieve wealth. But by stabbing them in the uterus, by demonizing them in speeches, and by inciting hostility and hatred against them.

Finally, note how Donnie is all about trade wars. He sees an economic war with China, an economic war with Mexico. All his talk on trade relies on war rhetoric. I see no evidence that Donnie understands trade, how both parties can benefit. I don't think he understands the nature of contract, how both parties can benefit. He sees every trade as a zero-sum game. One side wins, the other side loses. He doesn't understand how important agreement and good faith are to capitalism. You need to have trust--or as the Pope might say, "build bridges"--for capitalism to work. This is why Donnie is hostile to free trade. In my opinion, he's not much of a capitalist.

LYNNDH said...

Having recently been there, I call BS on The Times. Yes you can enter St. Peter's square, but go no further. Armed guards everywhere, no nonsense types. And it is closed off from further entry without proper authorization. No, I am not calling for the tearing down of the Vatican walls, just that the Vatican is a very closed, protected State. As should the United States be.

Fernandinande said...

I just did a google street view around Vatican City, and yes, there is a big rock wall all the way around it except for three entrances, one marked "Divieto di Sosta" (no entrance). One entrance appears to be big enough for cars but has wooden barriers.

Fixed this: “they were a fortification built at a time when armed invasions by barbarians and other forces were happening. And that is the same thing we are talking about with a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.”

Mike said...

Having a wall around a small city state (or actually, just a very large church) is not in the same ballpark as putting a wall around a gigantic country of 300 million people. It's not even in the same solar system. You're talking about a gigantic public works project with massive environmental and social impact that will be completely ineffective unless manned by tens of thousands of border guards. And even then, it doesn't cover water crossings. Or are we going to also build a giant sea wall a la Pacific Rim?

A more apt comparison would be the Great Wall of China. And ... that didn't work either.

Mike said...

Additionally, the Pope has been calling for Italy to take on more refugees and immigrants, which effectively grants those refugees access to the Vatican.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...What makes man think he can impinge on nature so brutally?

I'm impressed you get enough light to read by, down there in the cave you dug for yourself to live in. I mean, you didn't build one of those HOUSES, did you? Or, no, right, your house isn't brutal, your house is nice. Nature loves your house!
It's interesting to note that nature has the same general aesthetic preferences that you do...but that's probably just a coincidence.

"Impinging on nature" is what we call human life. Nature doesn't like you, nature doesn't care about you, nature isn't interested in your tastes, your happiness, or your survival. Silly, silly, silly.

Marty Keller said...

I love it when Althouse gets all professorial on us and lectures about how to respond to her posts. "Think!" "Please stay on the topic framed in the post." As someone who managed to pass second grade I am of course grateful for the guidance.

But more humorously, it's her tell. And when challenged by us loyal readers she always digs in.

But we love ya just the way you are.

Fernandinande said...

Fernandinande said...
three entrances,


Here's one I missed.

Fernandinande said...

jaydub said...
the only two entrances to Vatican City, both of which are gated and guarded.


There's another entrance with "Divieto di Sosta" signs.

chickelit said...

Ann Althouse said...
I am addressing the people who made the argument that the Vatican is surrounded by a wall.

So literal! The point is that Vatican was, in former times, completely surrounded by walls. So what if today it is only partially so? You are again arguing literal truth. You remind me of the people who denied the Muslim cheerleaders by calling out whether "thousands" was correct. Nobody is talking about "completely surrounding" America by a wall.

Oh and the part about America not being under attack by armed invaders? That part conveniently ignores jihadi terrorists and armed drug cartels.

elkh1 said...

But the walls do not entirely enclose the city-state...

Neither will Trump's walls entirely enclose the United States.

Wall is funny. It can wall you in as a prison, or wall you out as a gated community.

When will our walled community become a prison?

chickelit said...

The way that Pope Francis fetes and celebrates Latin American dictators would make the victory of a free-born Cuban all the more delicious. I believe that Pope Francis's heart would be profoundly conflicted were Rubio or Cruz to win.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Just paint the wall to blend in with the environment. That will provide work to artists for several years.

Tom said...

Make the wall a WPA project and liberals will cream their Hudson Jeans in support.

chickelit said...

Mike writes:A more apt comparison would be the Great Wall of China. And ... that didn't work either.

Ah, but perhaps it did at the time. You're taking a very long term view, saying that in the long run, the Great Wall failed. So what you need to say more bluntly is that all walls fail and we need to be more circumspect. We need to build another kind of barrier or no barrier at all. Which is it, Mike?

chickelit said...

The question people are busy asking and answering is "am I better or worse off with de facto open borders." It's a very simple question to which everyone ought to have an honest answer.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Blogger HoodlumDoodlum said...

Can you as a visitor vote in some election to decide who makes decisions/sets policy for Vatican City? Can you draw benefits from Vatican City merely by being present within its painted lines?

I will be visiting Wisconsin for at least some of the fall semester at UW. As such, I will apparently qualify to vote in Wisconsin's state and federal elections.

In 1988 I ran for Prez and did not get a single vote. I am running again this year and expect to do infinitely better since I will be able to write my name in in WI and get 1 vote.

I need to check the legality, but I think I can then come home and vote in local, PR, elections.

John Henry

Birches said...

I can't believe the NYT would go to such water carrying lengths for the Pope, and for such a fb-dumb meme like pointing out the Vatican has a wall. What a bunch of scolds.

rcocean said...

"Am I the only one who worries about the wall as aesthetically and ecologically troubling?"

Yes, you are alone in that. But if others share your concern Trump can hire a few artists and make it pretty.

rcocean said...

When the New York Times defends the Pope you know they're being disingenuous.

Evidently, like almost all our ruling elite, left and right, open borders and globalization Trumps everything.

robother said...

So, to assuage aesthetes everywhere, Trump should promise that his wall will be at least as architecturally pleasing as the Great Wall of China.
And as a nod to Roman Catholicism, he could create a Great Bridges of the World in the middle of the Nevada/Arizona desert.

holdfast said...

The Left sure does get all hot 'n bothered when the Peronista Pope says something that they agree with. Of course they ignore him the other 80% of the time, but whatever.

JP II was the last good Pope - and maybe will be the last good Pope ever. The last one looked like Emperor Palpatine.

chickelit said...

robother notes...And as a nod to Roman Catholicism, he could create a Great Bridges of the World in the middle of the Nevada/Arizona desert.

You mean like London Bridge at Lake Havasu City?

Ken B said...

The Pope has the most restrictive immigration in the world and quite a lot of guards to expel those who stay too long. The wall, as Francis cited it, Is a symbol of exclusion. Trump is a bad Christian not for building but for excluding in Francis's complaint. The critics are turning his rhetoric around.

You thought they really wanted to tear down walls? No, you are also riffing on Wall rhetoric.

Sebastian said...

Forget the walls. How many bridges has any Pope built?

chickelit said...

Sebastian said...Forget the walls. How many bridges has any Pope built?

He's a Pontiff, a "bridgebuilder" sui generis.

traditionalguy said...

Hadrian's Wall was a show of Authority by Rome's military.

But strong bridges built in hours are the job of Combat Engineers to move attacking armies and tanks into a hard to reach enemy rear areas by crossing rivers and natural wall barriers.

Hitler's blowing the Rhine River bridges was to keep the Third Army out of Berlin. He missed the one at Remagin. And Patton got him another one intact.

Trump understands Bridges. They are to invade Mexico. Walls are to stop Mexican invasion of the USA.

Armies of dear sweet Catholics invading the USA are Dear Sweet Pope Francis' goal. He also highly values the Cuban Troops..I mean refugees...that he and Obama are helping invade us.

Jonathan said...

The Vatican is a country quite wealthy albeit small. Has it provided refuge to Syrian / Iraqi Muslims fleeing to Europe? Not really. The Pope is a religious leader of a major Christian faith. Has the Catholic church supported Syrian / Iraqi Muslims seeking asylum in Europe? Sometimes in some countries. Maybe.

Fritz said...

Just walk across the line in the Vatican, and demand the church provide you food and shelter. After all, it's the Christian thing to do.

BrianE said...

The Pope did not say Trump was not a Christian. He said it was not the Christian thing to build walls.

And Trump is not going to build a wall-- he's going to finish building a wall that has existed in part for 25 years. See the beautiful wall.

The San Diego fence

stevo said...

Its the idea that Christians do not build walls that is stupid

chickelit said...

BrianE said...The Pope did not say Trump was not a Christian. He said it was not the Christian thing to build walls.

Did he not? That's a clever deception if true. But you'd better alert the NYT because they most clearly translate the Pope's words in contraction to yours: link

What you're arguing sounds like a lefty meme.

Tom said...

Doesn't heaven have gates and only some people get in to that gated community?

robother said...

Of course, if a Pope had suggested that Hillary (whose campaign is at least as beholden to unrestricted abortion rights as Trump's is to border control) is not Christian, the NYT would be writing about the absolute necessity of a Wall--of Separation between Church and State.

But of course, politically confronting any Progressive about abortion is the last thing this Pope would ever do. Given the official position of the Catholic Church (that abortion is murder), Pope Francis is choking on a gnat but swallowing the camel.

averagejoe said...

NYT playing dumb again for their progressive followers. The question is, as Pope Fink scolds America for not welcoming illegal aliens enough, how many illegals and migrants and refugees from Syria is Vatican City bringing in and taking care of?

Unknown said...

Needs a catchy name: walammex
Needs to be aesthetically pleasing: Hire Cristo or better yet have a contest
Needs to be environmentally friendly: A contest for college clubs
actually I seem to remember reading last year how the illegal immigrating was generating an environmental catastrophe, so maybe just stopping that counts

n.n said...

Tom:

Yeah, heaven is a very exclusive club, without a convenient or permissive bridge. Not only is it necessary to make reservations decades in advance, but you must also demonstrate a sincere adoption of its laws, and it helps to know the King on a first name basis. They are not known to accept refugees, except perhaps wholly innocent victims of abortion rites and cannibalistic trials.

BrianE said...

"What you're arguing sounds like a lefty meme."- Chicklit

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel,” the Pope said Feb. 18.-- from the Catholic News Agency

What is a Christian? Someone who accepts the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for their atonement and with that becomes a follower of Jesus. They are "born" again, but the old nature, rebellious against God, continues to linger. They continue to, at times, not act Christian.
I may be giving the Pope too much credit, but I take his statement that Trump's action (desire to build a fence) is not Christian without passing judgment on whether or not Trump is a Christian. I could be wrong, but then I think the Pope's statement is wrong, since it is mostly nonsensical.

But I have my doubts whether or not Trump is a Christian based on statements he's made irrespective of what the Pope has said. That isn't why I don't support him for President though. We are not electing a Pastor in Chief. And I think all this is nonsense.
The Pope seems to be a very political creature or else not very informed, since according to candidate Rubio, "We have a legal immigration system in America that accepts one million people a year, legally. No other country in the world even comes close to that."
Politifact Florida rates that statement as "mostly true". No other country in the world comes close to allowing that many persons to legally immigrate. Per capita, though, other countries have higher immigration rates, according to them.

RonF said...

"'... but they were a fortification built at a time when armed invasions by barbarians and other forces were happening,' she said. 'And that is not the same thing we are talking about with a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.'”

LOTS and LOTS of people would dispute this statement.

Jason said...

The bullshit is not limited to the Times, but the Professor has done more than her part to further the spread of bullshittery here.

After all that's happened, anyone who still thinks the U.S. media quotes the Pope within a country mile of being at all accurate is an idiot. If the media tells you the Pope says "the sky is blue," you'd better go check the transcript, because they'll screw that up, too.

And this case is no exception. What the Pope actually said is nowhere near what the media--and the Trump campaign, for that matter -- is running with.

William Chadwick said...

I like the comment on the "IMAO" blog. "If Christians had built some good stout walls, perhaps today Constantinople wouldn't be called Istanbul."

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Tom said...Doesn't heaven have gates and only some people get in to that gated community?

Duh, Tom, the keys of St. Peter are to a lock that doesn't work--it's always open and anyway there's not really a gate. There's a bridge!

EMD said...

New York Times goes to bat for The Pope.

Man bites dog.

Mom2Es said...

I am reading the first few comments, which try to change the subject, as implicitly conceding that the Pope-has-a-wall argument is rotten.

The Pope-has-a-wall argument has an unspoken component to it that the Catholic Church did not just happen upon an area with a wall and randomly decide to build stuff inside it. It was not built for decorative purposes. The wall was built by Pope Leo IV specifically to keep unauthorized people out, which is the same purpose for which Trump would like to build a wall now. The Pope's criticism implies that Francis should not consider his predecessor to have been a Christian.

They may not be using that specific wall in its entirety for that purpose at present, but it is disingenuous to say that no parts of the wall function for that purpose. If you attempt to enter an area the Pope doesn't want you to be in by throwing a rope over and scaling the Leonine Wall rather than coming in through the approved entry areas, the Vatican police will not be shrugging it off and welcoming you with open arms. You aren't allowed to be there, nor to come in that way. And they definitely use other methods to restrict people's ability to move freely within Vatican City (wearing a tank top? Can't come inside the big, fancy building! It's disrespectful for you to gaze upon our nekkid statues without proper attire!)

Wall or not, someone who is arguably one of the most heavily-protected people in the world is not the most appropriate person to criticize someone else's basic security measures. It's not the Swiss Guard on the border or a mine field or any other number of violent things I might be able to dream up. It's a wall. A barrier that says, "Allow me to direct you to the big, beautiful door over there"

Michael K said...

"Am I the only one who worries about the wall as aesthetically and ecologically troubling?"

Here is the story of the enviros war against the border fence,

Have you been down there ? Not very esthetic country, especially with the trash, etc, left by illegals.

But Moran said the contentious San Diego fence was needed. Illegal traffic here has slowed to a trickle — it’s moved to Arizona and Texas.

Moran said adding hundreds of miles to the U.S.-Mexico border fence would probably help agents by funneling illegal traffic into areas they can control.

“It’s not the answer to border security, but it is a primary tool that the Border Patrol has to slow down things,” he said.

Walking along San Diego’s border fence, Mike McCoy admits the impact hasn’t been all bad. Illegal crossers used to tromp through sensitive areas here.


Sorry, wrong number.

n.n said...

The original wall was constructed by God to keep Adam, Eve, and their children out of Eden after they willfully violated the rules of the community. The bridge to Heaven follows a long and meandering path that involves acknowledging God's jurisdiction and following His religion/laws. For those who lose faith, and sin, there is a period served in Hell, where the price of violating rules is exacted.

God provided another guide to reconciling individual dignity, intrinsic value, and natural imperatives that is salient to this context.

Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the sky and over all the beasts that tread upon the earth.

So, don't participate in abortion rites and cannibalistic trials. Rule over the land, the flora, and fauna, implying a sustainable exploitation. And tend to your garden and make it flourish.

The mass exodus from second and third-world nations is indication of problems in those societies that have been exacerbated through imprudent immigration incentives, unreliable and unavailable energy production, class and criminal conflicts, and land-use restrictions that deprive people of home and harvest.

Maddad said...

Cross into the Vatican, it's easy. Get a fake ssn, driver's license, car, health insurance, lease on a place to live and a free education too. Seriously, try it. It'll work, I'm sure.

Moneyrunner said...

Ann said: "

I'm thinking of the plants and animals that flow back and forth within those areas. I'm not hearing anyone talk about this. Where's the ecological impact analysis? What about the snakes and lizards and small mammals? What about birds and insects? What about the flow of water? Are we really supposed to think realistically about this building project? It seems like something that mainly exists in the mind."

Now I know you’re either kidding or crazier than a bedbug.

I like Quaestor’s comment:

"Nature's complete and total disinterest in our survival as a species has a lot to do with it. Please evict Mother Nature from your brain. She doesn't pay enough rent, and she's a bad influence on the other tenants."

The tendency of many people to anthropomorphize nature is characteristic of people who are not really religious in the traditional sense, but attribute religious attributes of aspects of nature that they admire. Think of the Gaia effect.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Memorials to Confederate soldiers/dead don't count, though--tear those hateful relics down now.

cyrus83 said...

The biggest miss with making an issue of Vatican City's wall is that for all practical purposes, the city does in fact have an open borders policy at its front door in St. Peter's Square. The walls aren't a deterrent to anyone who wants to get in to the public areas, they simply have to go to either the open square in front or one of the various gates or other entrances. This is somewhat analogous to criticizing Central Park's walls - they serve a function to separate the Park from the rest of the city, but they aren't intended to keep anybody from entering the Park.

It's true that the Vatican won't just let you walk anywhere inside the grounds, but the only real border control here are the folks who will stop those inappropriately dressed from entering the church (they don't do shorts on men and ladies need to be covered at least to the knee).