The newly elected pope, Francis I, has demanded an immediate crusade to liberate the Falkland Islands from Britain.
Speaking to a crowd in St Peter’s Basilica today, Pope Francis called for the men of Christendom to become “soldiers of God” and to “cleanse the Malvinas of the British impiety.”
The Pope said he had been moved by the terrible suffering of those Falkland Islanders who were forced against their will to accept the oppressive yoke of British rule.
A recent referendum on whether the Falkland Islands should stay British saw as many as three people vote “No”.
Francis I said the plight of those three people could no longer be ignored. He said that the Falkland Islands, known in Argentina as the Malvinas, were the rightful property of the Argentines, a people “beloved by God for their catholic faith and the honour of the holy church”.
He said that the islands had been “given by God into the possession of the children of Argentina”.
The British were described by the Pontiff as “an accursed race, a race utterly alienated from God, a nation of defilers and polluters.”
The Pope called upon every able-bodied man in Christendom to “gather a fleet such as the world has never before seen, and sail in force in the name of God to liberate these lands for the glory of the holy church.”
Those who took the cross would have all of their sins remitted, and would earn everlasting life and imperishable glory in the Kingdom of Heaven, Francis I promised.
The Pope sought to inspire the crowd by recalled the glories of the past.
“Oh, most valiant soldiers of Christ, let the deeds of your ancestors move you and incite your minds to manly achievements. Recall the valour of your progenitors, and liberate the Malvinas for the glory of our holy church!
“Let not the foul Britons continue to treat the Malvinas with ignominy, nor suffer them to irreverently pollute God’s islands with their filthiness.
“If you are hindered by love of children, parents and wives, remember what the Lord says in the Gospel. ‘He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me.’
“Let none of your possessions detain you, nor solicitude for your family affairs. Let hatred depart from among you, let your quarrels end, let wars cease, and let all dissensions and controversies slumber. Begin your voyage to the Holy Islands and wrest those lands from the wicked race, and subject them to yourselves.”
Pope Francis acknowledged that not everyone would be able to take the cross.
“We do not command or advise that the old or feeble, or those unfit for bearing arms, undertake this journey. Nor ought women to set out at all, without their husbands or brothers or legal guardians. For such are more of a hindrance than aid, more of a burden than advantage”, he said.
“Nor shall the priests or clerks of any order go without the consent of their bishop, for this journey would profit them nothing if they went without permission of these.”
The speech drew an enthusiastic response from many in the audience.
“It is the will of God! It is the will of God!” cried hundreds of those gathered to hear the speech.
In response the Pope said: “let this then be your war-cry in combats, because this word is given to you by God. When an armed attack is made upon the enemy, let this one cry be raised by all the soldiers of God: It is the will of God! It is the will of God!”
British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, expressed disappointment at the speech, but vowed to defend the Falkland Islands to the very last drop of British blood.