Francis versus Trump? Pope Francis and the Vatican took on Donald Trump and the GOP leading candidate’s thoughts on whether or not Pope Francis should be visiting Mexico. A Vatican spokesman dubbed Trump’s condemnation of over-the border outings made by the Bishop of Rome as “very strange,” and suggested Mr. Trump could use a helping of “global perspective.”
Writes the New York Times on Feb. 17: “Pope Francis’ trip to Mexico ended on Wednesday in Ciudad Juárez, a city once made hellish by drug violence and still gripped by poverty and crime. He did not seem afraid, and brought with him only smiles and hugs, and words of solace and encouragement.”
It appears the Sovereign of the Vatican City was able to dismiss Donald Trump’s words, which were wholly opposite of the Pope’s message to the pilgrims gathered in the border city across from the Rio Grande and Texas. Francis was in Mexico from Feb. 12 to the 17, visiting prisons, hospitals and praying at the U.S. and Mexican border for migrant workers who have endured “human tragedy” – being forced to risk death while “each step is a journey laden with grave injustices: the enslaved, the imprisoned and extorted.”
Francis spoke to Mexican Christians about the difficulty of finding gainful employment, forcing individuals to flee – ostensibly over the border to the United States. “It is hard to feel the wealth of a nation when there are no opportunities for dignified work, no possibilities for study or advancement, when you feel your rights are being trampled on, which then leads you to extreme situations,” the pope said.
In an interview with Fox Business Network last week, Trump called out Pope Francis for not having an understanding of “the danger of the open border we have with Mexico.” Throughout Trump’s campaign for the presidency, he has harped on immigration and the fact he will make Mexico pay to have a wall erected to stop “criminals who cross our border illegally only to go on to commit horrific crimes against Americans.”
Trump has also vowed to block Muslims from entering the U.S. and revoke birthright citizenships, among other immigration measures that many have seen as extreme.
“I think Mexico got him to [visit the border] because Mexico wants to keep the border just the way it is because they’re making a fortune and we’re losing,” Trump said of Pope Francis, adding that Francis is a “very political person” – suggesting that Mexico is manipulating the Pope’s visit to further its own political and economic interests.
Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi denied Trump’s off-putting allegations, and said Francis has a real concern for the world’s immigrants.
“The pope always talks about migration problems all around the world, of the duties we have to solve these problems in a humane manner, of hosting those who come from other countries in search of a life of dignity and peace,” Lombardi said, adding that the Pope always talks about migration problems when he visits various places in the world, and that these are things “Trump would know if he came to Europe.”