A canticle for Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s progress toward the Republican nomination is beginning to look fated. When it comes to good luck, or divine intervention, can anything beat Pope Francis’s condemnation of Donald Trump today for supporting a wall protecting the southern border of the United States?

Answering questions posed to him on the papal plane on his way back from Mexico to Vatican City, Pope Francis was asked what he thought of Trump’s campaign pledge to build a wall along the border and expel millions residing in the country illegally. Pope Francis said: “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”

Well, thanks. Trump doesn’t think only about building walls, of course, but the adverse judgment rendered by the Pope is obvious. The Pope has given Trump a great gift. The Pope has in effect picked a fight with Trump on which Trump has the better of the argument six ways from Sunday, so to speak. Especially in the American context, it is an argument on which Trump occupies the high ground.

There is much more that could be said, but I doubt that anyone captures the weirdness better than the Atlantic’s Molly Ball on Twitter (below).

UPDATE: The English translation of the responses of Pope Francis to news reporters’ questions during the papal flight back to Rome after the conclusion of his apostolic visit to Mexico yesterday was provided by Father Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., English language media attaché for the Holy See Press Office and has been posted online here. The translation of the relevant question and answer reads as follows:

QUESTION: Today you spoke a lot and eloquently about the problem of immigrants. On the other side of the border there is an electoral campaign that is rather hard. One of the candidates for the White House, Donald Trump, in a recent interview said that you are a political man, and indeed perhaps a pawn of the Mexican Government when it comes to the policy of immigration. He said that if he were elected president he would build a 2,500-km wall along the border. He wants to deport 11 million illegal immigrants and, in that way separating families and so on. I would therefore like to ask, first of all, what you think of those charges against you, and if an American Catholic could vote for a person like this?

ANSWER: Thank God he said I am a politician because Aristotle defined the human person as an ‘animal politicus’ [a political animal]. So at least I am a human person. As to whether I am a pawn, well, maybe, I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to your judgement and that of the people. And then, a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the gospel. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he says things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.

Responses