Trump vs Pope

Just wanted to get this out there – the Pope did not say we can’t build a wall…he just said, correctly, that if all you’re about is building a wall, you’re doing it wrong.

It must be kept in mind that the Catholic Church is neither left nor right – it can’t be. The Church, being universal, contains all…a deep concern with the poor as well as a deep concern that people be allowed to hold their own property. And it goes on and on like that on the issues.

Trump, however, decided to lash out – stupidly. Oh, I’m sure it will delight that element of the American population which retains an anti-Catholic animus, but the bottom line is that the Pope did nothing to Trump…just pointed out that if all Trump is about is building a wall (and for a lot of his supporters, that is all Trump is about), then Trump is flat wrong…and I’ve held that position for nearly 9 years now. Border security is a must – but there must also be accommodation for those who are here and for those who wish to come here. People can disagree endlessly about this, but getting in a fight with the Pope for being Catholic is absurd.

18 thoughts on “Trump vs Pope

  1. bardolf2 February 19, 2016 / 7:46 am

    If the Pope said in general that any person who supports abortion can’t be Christian, he would be following Catholic teaching. If he mentioned it, in response to a question about a particular candidate, during a presidential primary where the central issue of the leading Democratic candidate was to uphold Roe v. Wade he would be interfering in politics. Everyone understands that even if there is a thin veneer of deniability.

    Did Donald ever say that he was only about building a wall? On the contrary, he said that there has to be a process for legal immigration and that process can’t begin while illegal aliens are poring over the border. The Pope, in Mexico, at the border was asked about Trump. He could have just not commented at all. Instead, he signaled his opinion of Trump and all those who would restrict ANY type of immigration.

    The Pope supports ALL immigration (outside the Vatican City). The nonsense that there is a groundswell of anti-Catholic animus is funny. 2/3 of the Supreme Court members are Catholic and yet their ‘well-formed’ consciences which could overturn abortion haven’t been called into question, by any Pope.

    In summary, there are Catholic judges who could end the massacre of innocents, they choose not to and fail to suffer even an indirect rebuke from the Pope. A non-Catholic wants to end violence poring into the US and in doing so keep some Catholic Mexicans from breaking the law and suddenly the Pope offers a treatise on walls.

    The Pope wanting to maximize the number of Catholics in the world and Trump wanting to maximize the earnings of the working class in the US are simply at odds. The Pope used his position to indirectly criticize Trump and Trump did the same.

    • Amazona February 19, 2016 / 9:52 am

      I have often disagreed with you, dolf, but here I cannot. This Pope has a pattern of trying to influence world politics. More particularly, United States politics. Yet, as you say, there is no papal rebuke to ersatz Catholics who promote and even advance atrocities such as abortion. Nancy Pelosi, an ardent supporter of abortion, was granted a private audience with the Pope, which had to be taken as a lack of criticism for her distinctly un-Catholic efforts to make a distinctly un-Catholic action the law of the land. I never heard a papal criticism of Ted Kennedy. It took some courageous priests to tell their own congregations that supporting candidates who support abortion is an un-Catholic thing to do.

      He has also weighed in on the spiritual aspects of “global warming”.

      I do not agree with Mark, that the Pope “… just pointed out that if all Trump is about is building a wall (and for a lot of his supporters, that is all Trump is about), then Trump is flat wrong.” You are right, in saying that this Pope “… supports ALL immigration (outside the Vatican City).” He seems to believe that charity is a function of government, and that government should take a back seat to charity. Sure, it would be ever so lovely if every nation had the same opportunities, the same riches, the same security. But it is naive and short-sighted to think that this can be accomplished by allowing some nations to be hotbeds of corruption, in which only the tiniest fraction of their people have decent lives, and just dump the rest onto nations which function better. The solution is to have all nations function better.

      I believe that underlying this Pope’s belief that the United States should allow anyone in to share in our riches is the South American concept of “capitalism”, which is that capitalism is by nature a corrupt system which builds vast wealth for the few on the laboring backs of the oppressed many. To someone with this view those nations whose wealth has come through capitalism OWE it to the “less fortunate” to open their arms and their wallets to anyone who wants a piece of that pie.

      You do have to admit that Trump’s big attraction to so many is that wall—that wall that we will build but will not have to pay for. Any message that what we need is “…a process for legal immigration and that process can’t begin while illegal aliens are poring (sic) over the border…” is also the message of several other candidates, but they don’t use A WALL !!! as a rallying cry, and they don’t shout it out to get a room on its feet screaming in ecstatic agreement.

      • M. Noonan February 19, 2016 / 11:58 pm

        You do realize, don’t you, that the Vatican is 0.17 square miles, right? It is a church (rather large, to be sure), with a garden and a few outbuildings. It is also completely open to the public – it isn’t a walled fortress. You can wander from Italy to Vatican city by just stepping over a painted line on the sidewalk, as it were…and no passport or other border controls. And the Pope has also recently built facilities in the Vatican for homeless people…as Vatican City doesn’t have any homeless people, this means the Pope is allowing Italian bums, drunks and drug-addicts to get free food and a shower just by wandering over a painted line.

        I’ll go back to it, because it seems to bear repeating – the Pope isn’t saying we can’t build a wall…and, yes, we all know that Trump has this YUUUGE and classy plan…but the wall is what is important to his supporters…and the amount of nauseating, xenophobic hatred of foreigners I’ve seen expressed over the past six months tells me that what is at work here in the Trump phenomena (which I know you, too, dislike Amazona) is not some desire to “just enforce the law” but a sick and twisted desire to retreat into Fortress America and kick out all those lousy foreigners.

        I know things suck – but it is the Capitalists working with the Socialists who have made our illegal immigration problem. It wasn’t Catholic priests offering a welcome hand to poor and despised people…it was rich, mostly white people sitting atop the American socio-economic pile who made this happen…and now one rich guy is proposing to fix it…except he won’t. He won’t fix it because he can’t – its not a good deal for rich people if illegals are kept out…and supposing Trump gets into office, he’ll have at his ear not middle- and working-class Americans telling him their tales of woe, but super-rich Capitalists and Socialists telling him we can’t cut off the flow of illegals.

        I’m Conservative and I’ll have none of it.

        And, as an aside, the Pope spent the last week raking the Mexican government over the coals for their actions and inactions which impels people to want to leave Mexico.

      • Amazona February 20, 2016 / 1:25 pm

        I really don’t think the Trump phenomenon is just, or even mostly, about “…. not some desire to “just enforce the law” but a sick and twisted desire to retreat into Fortress America and kick out all those lousy foreigners.” I think most Americans are just fine with “foreigners” —-as long as those foreigners respect this country, and respect Americans as people.

        It is the influx of people who openly hate this country, who loathe and despise America, who advocate things ranging from a “fundamental transformation” of our country to an outright overthrow of our government, that has so many Americans feeling, not xenophobic but under attack.

        The average everyday American who loves this country, thinks the Constitution is not only the best way to govern it but the only legal way, who goes to 4th of July parades and parties, who gets a little choked up hearing the national anthem, whose stomach turns when he or she sees our flag desecrated, who admires out military, who thinks George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were great men, is watching his nation in a death spiral. A lot of this is directly due to “foreigners”.

        La Raza and Reconquista
        Drugs pouring across the border
        People on our southern border living in fear
        Having United States territory basically ceded to foreign terrorists (national park along Mexican border)
        Mosques in this country preaching jihad against this country and its citizens
        Billions of dollars of taxpayer money going to support indigent people from other countries, many of whom are here illegally
        Violent gangs consisting of foreigners—MS-13, Russian gangs, triads, etc

        This is a partial list, but it all goes to the anger that Trump, in true demagogue fashion, has identified and is stirring into a fever pitch. Even he admits that many foreigners are just fine, but he does so in his typical incoherent fashion–“Ship ’em all out and then let the good ones back in”.

        I am not biased against all “foreigners” but when I walked into a beautiful new Wal Mart and felt that I was not only in a 3rd World country but in one that is primitive and uncivilized, when I walked into absolute chaos with portable radios blasting Mexican music, children running amok throwing clothes and other goods onto the floor and trampling them, adults looking on in amusement, a large restroom with every toilet unflushed and filled with excrement while the toilet paper was unrolled all over the floor, my response was to send all these people back where they came from.

        Not because they were Mexican, but because they had such disdain for this country and everything it stands for, because they enjoyed expressing their hatred for it and for us–while they had jobs, or welfare if they did not, while they had medical care and schools for their kids, they spent their evenings telling us what they really think of us. I might understand it if we went to Mexico and dragged them here, and then dumped them on society, but they went to a lot of trouble to get here, they violated our laws to get here, and then when they were here and benefiting from what this country has to offer they spit on it. To be more graphic, they shit on it.

        Every demographic that feels targeted by this anger is going to claim that it is ugly, it is racist, it is nationalist, it is nativist, it is one “ist” or another. None of them is going to admit that negative feelings toward whichever group is whining at the moment are for the most part, if not completely, based on the actions of that group, or at least on a large enough segment of that group to be significant. If they don’t like being perceived the way they are, they have the primary responsibility to correct that perception, by policing their own.

        Don’t get me wrong—I think Trump is a disgrace and I think the fact that so many want him to be our president is a shameful reflection on this country. I think he is an idiot, but clever in manipulating emotional and vulnerable people.

        But I refuse to agree that people who are offended, disgusted and scared by the rampaging of so many of what you call “lousy foreigners” are bad, are bigots. There are people from other countries who are welcome here, but they are people who have earned the right to be here and earned respect. And there ARE “lousy foreigners”.

      • M. Noonan February 21, 2016 / 12:46 am

        Indeed, there are – and we should get them out, and keep them from coming in…as I’ve said since 2007, if border security requires a 50 foot high wall the length of the American border, then that is what we’ll have to do…I’m also the guy who figures that when we arrest a person here illegal, the best thing to do is hold him or her for a while…a few weeks for the first offense, longer for each subsequent offense. The idea is that they come here to get something – while they are sitting in detention, they aren’t getting what they want; holding them is a gigantic tax, as it were, they can’t afford to pay (I’d also jail employers for hiring illegals…but only once we get a solid system in place for checking employee eligibility).

        But I’m getting a distinct impression from a lot of Trumpkins that they just don’t want foreigners…and maybe it’s ancestral memory for me, but I recall from my history books that once upon a time it was my great-great-grandfather who was the dirty, lousy (and Catholic!) foreigner no good American wanted in his country.

      • Amazona February 20, 2016 / 1:39 pm

        I am also tired of hearing how it is “the RICH” who have done so much to advance and protect illegal immigration. I think that for every eeevil corporation that has some illegals on its payroll, there are many more small companies who hire one or two illegals, or small companies started by illegals, such as lawn care or pool care companies.

        Statistically speaking, I don’t think there are all that many jobs in the biggest companies for poor uneducated poorly dressed people who speak little if any English. They tend to be concentrated in the hospitality industries and in construction, and they are not high on the list of must-hires for banks, investment firms, etc. Trump allegedly kept construction costs down on his projects by hiring lots of illegal workers, (“he knows how to GET THINGS DONE !!”) but most illegals are not hired by Fortune 500 firms.

        But I think the most significant contributor to illegal immigration is the Democrat Party and its need for more votes. It was not “.. rich, mostly white people sitting atop the American socio-economic pile who made this happen..” It was farmers, for the most part, involved in the bracero program, who provided work for migrants who then saw that the poorest people here lived better than most people back home, and they started to look at job opportunities other than stoop labor on farms. But it was politicians who saw what could be gained by having a huge demographic of poor people, especially if they could be lured by promises of free stuff and if they could be turned into voters who would vote for more free stuff.

      • M. Noonan February 21, 2016 / 12:41 am

        We’ve had migrant farm workers from Mexico in the United States pretty much since the United States conquered the Southwest…but we didn’t have 12 million+ illegals crammed into our largest cities as we do, now. Yes, our Socialists want them here – in huge numbers. Uneducated, excluded, poor, dependent – perfect Socialist voters! But large corporations want them, too…this is why the Chamber of Commerce is so avid for amnesty but doesn’t give a fig about border security. They like a large pool of unskilled labor to keep down overall wages…and they’ve liked this sort of thing ever since “enclosures” kicked the English peasantry off it’s land and forced them into the English cities, thus creating the urban proletariat in the first place.

      • Amazona February 21, 2016 / 3:03 pm

        Back to your comment about “No Irish Need Apply”. My grandfather was Irish, and I have always been aware of the bigotry toward the Irish. From the time they were captured and sold as slaves to the time they were so badly abused by the English and driven off their land into starvation to the miseries of emigration to the United States and their bad treatment here, the Irish have had a hard lot of it. But they prevailed, by having a good work ethic, by being good citizens, by having faith and religious convictions, by having strong family values.

        American black people have had, to a certain extent, a similar history. They, too, were captured and sold as slaves. They, too, suffered discrimination because of who they were. And for a long time, they appeared to be following in the footsteps of the Irish, by being good citizens, by having a good work ethic, by having good family values, by having faith and religious convictions. Their progress was phenomenal. I attribute the dramatic backsliding of such a large component of the black population in this country to a rejection of those ways—- of hating this country instead of loving it and being good citizens, having a bad work ethic if any at all, discarding family values, rejecting religion. and creating a negative attitude toward them and, unfairly, to those who have not indulged in this self-destructive behavior.

      • M. Noonan February 21, 2016 / 11:57 pm

        I’ll just say I don’t like the tone of a large number of Trumpkins…but, some of them are all right. And I do understand the frustration which is propelling Trump (and Bernie).

      • Amazona February 21, 2016 / 3:09 pm

        You may be right in thinking that a lot of Trumpkins don’t want any immigration at all. I would not be surprised. It is my impression that Donald Trump is bottom-fishing for votes, looking at the same demographic that made the WWE so popular, and I’m sure he has a lot of bigots in that mix.

        There is no way to know what Trump himself thinks, as this seems to depend on what he needs to think at any given moment to gain whatever he has targeted as his goal for that moment.

      • Amazona February 22, 2016 / 1:57 am

        Of course some of the Trump supporters are all right. And of course we all understand that they are driven by frustration. But frustration should only be the impetus for change, and at some point rationale should kick in. There are some things you can just burn down to correct what is wrong, but the government of more than 300 million people and of the country that has been, for many years, the symbol of freedom and prosperity for the whole world is not one of those things. Something this complex can’t be reduced to a few catch phrases and a vague idea that someone will “do something”.

        While there are all these people giddy about “being heard” and having their frustrations, they are giving rise to another group of people equally frustrated at the simple minded approach that if someone says all the right things he is then somehow magically gifted with the ability to do something about those things. In this case, hundreds of thousands or even millions of people are giving reasons for loving Trump that simply fly in the face of reality.

        People who are fed up with the expansion of the size, scope and power of the federal government are lining up to vote for a man who advocates using the power of the federal government to take over private property, and wants a single payer health care system that will expand the size and scope of the federal government even more than it is now.

        People who are concerned about the loss of freedom to practice religion as they see fit want to elect a man who even now supports Planned Parenthood and wants his abortion-promoting sister on the Supreme Court. They forget or choose to overlook the fact that abortion radicals want to force people of faith to participate in as well as pay for abortions.

        People who are (rightly) concerned about porous borders and the various problems of illegal immigration want to elect a man whose ideas, such as just deporting something like 12 million people to countries which do not want them and may not accept them, are simply not rational or realistic, and the execution of them would involve even more expansion of government.

        People who are unhappy about high taxes want to elect a man who wants to dramatically raise taxes. People who are unhappy with the power of big corporations want to elect a man who thinks the government should have the right to take away property from individuals so big corporations can make more money.

        People who claim to have strong family values want to elect a serial adulterer, three times married, who has bragged about how many women he has bedded. People who say they value honesty want to elect a man with a history of lying surpassed only by the Clintons. People who say they are tired of an increasingly coarse and vulgar culture want to elect a man who is openly, gleefully, coarse and vulgar. People who say they want our nation returned to a constitutional form of government want to elect a man who has advocated gun control. People who say they are tired of Obama ignoring Congress and simply making laws on his own want to elect a man who brags about how HE will do this or that or the other, ignoring the requirement that Congress do the legislating. People who are tired of corruption in business want to elect a man who has admitted to basically buying off politicians to get results he has wanted.

        So this whole thing about understanding where Trump followers are coming from, being able to empathize with their frustrations, etc. is bull. Other potential candidates have said much the same thing as Trump has been saying, but they are talking like adults talk to adults, not like a tent revival huckster selling snake oil. There are candidates who address the frustrations of the people, but the simple fact is, they don’t have the visceral appeal Trump does. And that always takes us back to just what is it about Trump that makes these people so blindly adoringly passionately supportive of him. I think it is because they simply want to emote, and he is all about emoting. It is not just about solving problems, it is a mishmash of emotions and he is eager to push those buttons and they are eager to have them pushed.

      • M. Noonan February 22, 2016 / 2:30 am

        What is also frustrating to me is how certain some people are that (a) something will turn up in the primaries to stop Trump or, failing that (b) Trump will get blown out in November. It is true that both of these things could very well happen – if I’m waking up on November 9th to the chattering classes dissecting how Hillary won 45 States, I won’t have my shocked face on…but I also won’t have it on if they’re discussion Trump’s 45-State blowout. And I think the Trump blowout a 60-40 chance in favor, while the chances of a Hillary blowout like that are 10-90.

  2. Bob Eisenhower February 19, 2016 / 4:36 pm


    Ouch. Looks like you’re in the minority on this one.

    I do like this Pope. While his stance on some social issues doesn’t match my own I like that he has successfully shaken a very stuck papacy and brought new life and vitality.

    As for what he said about the wall I proudly announce that I do not care. I don’t think his statement sways American opinion in a significant way. People vote for a complex nest of reasons and I don’t think the Pope’s opinion on one aspect of the immigration issue impacts much. Even to Catholics.

    • M. Noonan February 20, 2016 / 12:15 am

      I’ll gently correct you here – the Pope hasn’t change one thing. The Catholic Church has been officially anti-Capitalist since 1891 (and officially anti-Socialist for just as long). The Church has always held the door open to the poor and the oppressed (it’s kind of a thing it has to do). Fellow Conservatives liked the last two Popes because they fought the social issues battle which the right largely agrees with…but if you dig into it, you’ll see that both St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI were on the same page as Francis.

      Couple things the Church knows:

      1. What is morally right is morally right yesterday, today and tomorrow – it NEVER changes.

      2. In dealing with the swaying monster known as human life, only by striking a balance can any rationality be achieved. You can even take a virtue too far and turn it into a vice.

      • Amazona February 20, 2016 / 12:42 pm

        For being officially anti-Capitalist, the Church has certainly not walked that walk while talking that talk. The Church has owned a lot of income real estate, for example.

        “Capitalism” is a word that has had many guises over the years. When I use the word, I use it in the context of United States Capitalism. It is not perfect, but it has at the same time been the economic model that has been the single most effective solution to poverty in the history of man, the model that made the United States a beacon of freedom and opportunity, the model that enabled a meteoric rise in the standard of living for millions. Like all systems, it can be abused, has been abused, and has not always been perfect. Yet of literally every other economic system ever devised by man, it is by far the most effective.

        “Capitalism” in South America has a very different connotation. I used to travel in South and Central America and have known hundreds of people, from all economic strata, many of them college educated, from there. I have been involved in many many discussions with a lot of them about politics. Interestingly enough, those I talked with had come to the United States specifically to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to them in this country, opportunities based on our economic system. They either worked for companies or they started their own. But even so, when the word “capitalism” would come up, it was met with hatred and scorn. All but a very few had a hard time reconciling what was called “capitalism” in their countries with what is practiced here. In South America, in particular, “capitalism” HAS meant a few gaining great riches on the backs of the oppressed. I have seen it myself. In those countries, there is no opportunity for the little guy to make a good life for himself through what we know as capitalism—that is, finding a need and filling it better than anyone else has, and profiting from this endeavor, usually ending up hiring others to work in that endeavor.

        I think any church that has had an official position of being “anti-Capitalist” is profoundly wrong and if it has taken this broad position it is basing in on a narrow view of the system. For example, the father of Jesus, Joseph, was a carpenter, or so we are told. So, what does that mean? It means he either (1) used his hands and carpenter tools and his skills only to make things for his family and had a different means of acquiring food and shelter and clothing, etc. or (2) he was a slave or peon who was under the control of a lord or master, and did his carpentry work for that lord or master, or (3) he used his skills to do work others needed, in exchange for payment. That is, he was a Capitalist. (Unless he was part of a commune and didn’t really own his tools, or what he was paid, but it was all shared out among everyone. And I have never heard of a reference to that, regarding Joseph of most of the people of the era.)

        I can understand a Pope who is from South America, who also has a very serious view of his role in caring for the poor as well as for the spiritual lives of all Catholics, having a regional concept of Capitalism, given his background. But as a presumably educated man, a man who has traveled around the world and spoken of serious matters with serious people, I expect him to understand that the word does not mean the same thing everywhere it is used.

        Of course, I also expect him to be quite clear that Jesus never said that charity consisted of taking the property of someone else to give to the poor. I expect him to teach that each of us has a personal responsibility for charity and generosity. I expect him to teach that giving something that is not yours is not charity and is not the road to salvation. I expect him to renounce the concept of collective salvation, and make it clear that salvation is personal, and each person is responsible for his or her salvation.

        Sadly, I have not heard of any such teachings.

      • Bob Eisenhower February 20, 2016 / 1:22 pm


        I’ll gently correct YOU here. I never said the Pope changed anything, I said he shook a stuck papacy and brought vitality.

        By the end of JPII, and certainly throughout the previous Pope’s term, the Church was mired (granted, from an American perspective) under a bad image: regal, unmovable, scandalized, etc. Francis broke that image his first week in business through his words and behavior alone.

      • Bob Eisenhower February 20, 2016 / 1:23 pm

        Oops, just realized you were gently correcting Amazona, not me. Er….nevermind.

      • M. Noonan February 21, 2016 / 12:42 am

        I was correcting both of you!

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