Pope Francis condemned political cults of personality and said mature democracies must ensure the rule of law prevails over political interests, in what was widely interpreted as a condemnation of populism.
“The development of a democratic consciousness demands that emphasis on individual personalities be overcome and that respect for the rule of law prevail,” the head of the Roman Catholic Church said on Monday, in an annual speech to ambassadors accredited to the Vatican.
“Indeed, law is the indispensable prerequisite for the exercise of all power and must be guaranteed by the responsible governing bodies, regardless of dominant political interests,” he said, according to Reuters.
Events over the past year “in countries with a long democratic tradition” have shown that democracy demands “inclusive, peaceful, constructive and respectful dialogue among all the components of civil society in every city and nation,” he also said.
The pope’s remarks were quickly and widely interpreted as a condemnation of former US President Donald Trump and populism in general.