“The Pope – yet another blunder into American politics”

Those of us who have been wondering how much further Donald Trump could go in being

the grossest (calling Ted Cruz a pussy),

the most ignorant (clueless about what immigrants and refugees are going through),

the meanest (as eager to get into the Oval Office to order the round-up of immigrants and refugees as he is to fight ISIS)

the most reckless (“President Obama hasn’t done anything for the country” competes with Marco Rubio’s remarks that “The President is destroying the country…He knows exactly what he’s doing” for playing to the fanatical, pro-militia element of the population that believes Obama is not a legitimate President.  The idea is to portray the President as something like a foreign agent undermining the country.)

…we’ve been waiting for somebody other than just Trump opponents to speak out and rein in this fellow.  And now – of all people – it’s done by the Pope.  But as big as the moment could have been, Francis instead once again blunders when it comes to American politics.

After visiting a wall on the American-Mexican border, when he was back in his airplane, the Pope was asked by a reporter about Donald Trump wanting to build an even bigger wall.  The Pope responded:  “A person who thinks only about building walls…and not building bridges, is not a Christian.”

Anti-Trump forces felt vindicated.  The only trouble is – the anti-Trump forces include others who are equally anti-immigrant!  Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio (not to mention candidates who have dropped out of the Republican race for President) could trade speeches  with Trump any day!

They seem to be trying to out-do each other for orneriness towards immigrants and refugees.

The reporter on the airplane brought up just Trump, though – and the Pope took the bait.  That was his first blunder.  If he’s going to inject an opinion into the presidential campaign, the fact that he knew nothing but what the reporter told him – he didn’t know about Cruz being equally as mean as Trump.  In fact, the Pope wasn’t sure about what the reporter himself told him concerning Trump.  The Pope replied in part, “If he said this…”

If he said this…

With al of your advisors at hand, you don’t bother checking out whether somebody even said something, but you go ahead and already comment on it to the point of calling him a non-believer?

How much more reckless with somebody else’s reputation could this model Christian get to be?

This clumsiness reminds me of the papal visit to Washington, D.C. last year when we learned that the Pope met privately with the county clerk from Kentucky who had refused to give marriage licenses to gay couples, citing her freedom of belief in opposition to same-sex marriage.  This woman was brought to the pope’s attention by a bishop in Kentucky.  The county clerk was lauded by the Pope for her courageous stand on faith.

How about her courageous stand for prejudice?

The Pope seemed to know only half of the story – only the half that somebody else told him.

These incidents remind me of the remark by Luciano Pavarotti as to why the famous tenor did not get involved in political issues.  He stated, “You have to be very well-informed.”

The Pope’s punch was been weakened by commenting on just one candidate without knowing about the other candidates.  It was a very naive thing for a man of such world stature to do.  He seems overconfident that all he has to do is make a pronouncement and – as with E.F. Hutton – the world leans in to be instructed.

It appears that nobody informed the Pope that no matter what is said about Donald Trump, he does not lose his base of supporters.  In fact, they respond all the more rabidly supportive.  The Pope further was poorly advised to speak up about just one candidate.  If he’s going to take upon himself the judgment of Trump’s soul based on the sole issue of immigration, why stop there?  The Pope could judge the whole list of Republican candidates (including some who have quit campaigning) as being sheep vs. goats.

What people may initially cheer (because they’re anti-Trump), the supreme pontiff’s leap into American politics will prove to be amateurish, woefully so for a person who seemingly has enough advisors to know more about a situation than just what a reporter tells him.

 

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