Europe’s Unemployed: An Army Waiting for a Leader

As Europe edges toward mass anarchy and chaos, the Catholic Church is emerging as the key mediator between Europeans and their leaders.

Europe’s unemployment crisis is one everyone knows about, but no one is thinking seriously about.

We’ve all seen the atrocious figures and statistics, the long lines of grumpy, unemployed Greeks and Spaniards. But how many have actually thought about what this means, for Greece and Spain, for Europe, and even for the international community? Historically, mass unemployment has resulted in extreme social and political upheaval, followed by the rise of tyrannical ideologies and government, followed by the outbreak of large-scale war.

Considering the history, isn’t this worth thinking on?

Unemployment can be a frightening phenomenon. When a working-age person has meaningful daily tasks—be it making a cappuccino, laying bricks or creating spreadsheets—his mind tends to be active and occupied. Added to this, the employed person has income, which means food on the table, a roof overhead, clothed children and a hopeful future. Basically, he or she tends to be happier, more content, more stable, more hopeful.

Take employment away and two things begin to happen psychologically: First, as the bills mount and his stomach aches, the unemployed person becomes stressed, anxious and frustrated. Soon, the stress evolves into desperation and hopelessness, even despair. Second, disenfranchised by his deteriorating circumstances—the loss of the family home, his decline in status, marital tension—the unemployed person finds himself emotionally and intellectually vulnerable. The one commodity he does now have is time—time for his vulnerable, frustrated mind to entertain new, often extreme or radical “solutions” that promise to rescue him from the system that has failed him. Dismayed by the status quo, he pines for something new. A new political party, new ideologies, new leaders, new policies—a whole new system.

When unemployment is low, the threat of social unrest and political change is marginal and easily mitigated. But if the unemployment level rises, it creates a veritable army of disenfranchised, desperate, angry people. An army ready and willing to embrace extreme political ideologies. An army ready to support a leader who promises salvation. An army willing to overthrow the established system. When this happens, unemployment is no longer an unfortunate economic issue, it’s a terrifying social and political crisis capable of initiating major catastrophe!

Now consider the following recent remarks by Braulio Rodriguez, the archbishop of Toledo and the highest Catholic official in Spain, as reported by Evans-Pritchard. “We have to change direction, otherwise this is going to bring down whole political systems,” he said in an interview with the Telegraph. “It is very dangerous. Unemployment has reached tremendous levels. … There is a deep unease across the whole society, and it is not just in Spain. We have to give people some hope or this is going to foment conflict and mutual hatred.”

Archbishop Rodriguez apparently explained how the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (comece), a forum of leading European bishops, is currently gearing-up to play a greater role in helping solve the crisis.

About the archbishop’s remarks, Evans-Pritchard wrote: “Europe’s churches are emerging as a powerful pole of authority, filling a vacuum left by political parties of all stripes tainted by the crisis. German leaders may be more ready to heed criticism from the Vatican and their own clergy than from Club Med politicians” (emphasis added).

Note that last point: German leaders won’t listen to other European politicians, but they will listen to the Vatican!

Full article: Europe’s Unemployed: An Army Waiting for a Leader (The Trumpet)

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