Pope warns rising populism could produce a new Hitler

Pope Francis celebrates a Mass at the end of the Jubilee (Holy Year) of the Dominicans, inside the Basilica of St. John Lateran, in Rome, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (Giorgio Onorati/ANSA via AP)

VATICAN CITY (AP) – Asked about populist-style political leaders emerging in the United States and Europe, Pope Francis warned against seeking a savior in times of crisis.

“In times of crisis, we lack judgment, and that is a constant reference for me,” the pontiff said in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais. “The most obvious example of European populism is Germany in 1933. After the crisis of 1930, Germany is broken, it needs to get up, to find its identity, a leader, someone capable of restoring its character, and there is a young man named Adolf Hitler.”

He said Adolf Hitler in the 1930s’ Germany “was voted for by the people and then he destroyed the people.”

Francis laments that in crises “we look for a savior to give us back identity, and we defend ourselves with walls, barbed-wire fences, from other peoples.”

He was interviewed Friday at the Vatican.

Francis says he’ll wait to see what U.S. President Donald Trump does before forming an opinion about him.

In the interview published Saturday El Pais, Francis says he doesn’t like “judging people early. We’ll see what Trump does.”

The Pope sent President Trump his best wishes after his inauguration, praying “that your decisions will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people and your nation’s commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide.”

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