Lèse-majesté is the ‘crime’ of offending the dignity of the king, and these days it has gone out of fashion. In Britain, you can say anything you like about King Charles the Turd (as an Irish friend calls him), and no one turns a hair. But if you insult King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand, you’re in deep trouble.
By Gwynne Dyer – September 4, 2023
Thailand’s Lèse-majesté law decrees specifies a jail term of up to fifteen years for insulting the king, and it is vigorously enforced. Every insult attracts a separate punishment, so the penalties pile up fast.
[NOTE: For very orthodox Catholics, the Church is at the center of history, and the Vatican is at the center of the Church. Hence if there is some major disturbance, such as war, the Church “naturally” should have a role in ending it and repairing the damage.
But on the battlefield, it is fighting that counts: victory, defeat, stalemate — the outcome depends on weapons, valor, leadership, stamina, and, sometimes luck. Churches come later, unless their leaders bring tanks and drones.
Thus Pope Francis, despite all the to-ing and fro-ing recounted here, is shown to be essentially a bystander, and whether he and his diplomats will have any actual role in hastening the war’s end is by no means clear.
I wonder: what’s it like to be Pope Francis, waking up each morning in the Vatican knowing he’s surrounded by people praying fervently, and that many of them are begging God to make him die before noon?