There has been some sloppy reporting which has been seized on by unionists a little too desperate to make their case that Pope Francis is hostile to Scottish Independence because he is ‘against divisions’. What was published in the Catalan newspaper La Vangardia does not say that. As you might expect, the Pontiff was rather more subtle; his words are translated below, with a link to the original article.
A great deal of damage can be done to public figures—as well as the referendum debate—by both sides getting overly partisan and forgetting that objectivity is far more convincing to the undecided than hysteria. I would argue that Scotland is seeking independence by emancipation, about which the Pontiff makes positive distinction.
Q: Does the conflict between Catalonia and Spain worry you?
A: “All divisions worry me. There is independence by emancipation and there is independence by secession. Independence by emancipation, for example, are the Americans, that emancipated themselves from the European states. The independence of people by secession is a dismemberment, sometimes it’s very obvious. We’re thinking of the old Yugoslavia. Obviously, there are people, with cultures so diverse that not even glue could stick them together. The Yugoslavian case is very clear, but I wonder if other cases are so clear, with other people that have been together up to now. We have to study them case by case. Scotland, Padania (Po Valley, Northern Italy), Catalonia. There will be cases that are just and cases that are not just, but the secession of a nation without a precedent of forced unity, you have to be very careful and analyse each case separately.”