No, the Pope Is Not “Bossing Around” the U.S. on Border Wall

pope francis, pope, papacy, seat of peter,

pope francis, pope, papacy, seat of peter,

Political agitator Ann Coulter took to Twitter a few days ago to share these sterling thoughts. The typography is hers.

Jeb!, an AMERICAN Catholic, defends Trump, disapproves of Pope bossing around U.S. on wall. Rubio, a ROMAN Catholic, beholden to the Pope.

At the time I write this, that post has received 1,143 favorites and 656 retweets. (In another missive on Twitter, she contrasted Trump’s blameless business dealings with the Church’s toleration of pedophilia. Even though the pope had some very harsh words to say about such priests in the very same interview. But I digress.) Coulter was not at all alone; on his radio show (transcript and audio here), Sean Hannity (who is Catholic) accused the pope of “insert[ing] himself into this election.” Even the New York Times, not known for its conservative leanings, proclaimed that the pope was “inserting himself into the Republican presidential race.”

Really? Does no one—no one—know how to check a transcript anymore? To suggest the pope is inserting himself and bossing the U.S., if he is not in fact doing that, is bearing false witness. Is it not?

So once more this is an opportunity to show how far the pope’s actual words are from what the media is reporting them to be. Let us go to the official transcript provided by Catholic News Agency and look at the exchange. It starts with a question by Phil Pullella of Reuters:

Today, you spoke very eloquently about the problems of immigration. On the other side of the border, there is a very tough electoral battle.

Ah, so it is the reporter who brings up the American election. So whatever the pope says, it is in response to the reporter having introduced the topic.

And by the way, do you think the pope is following the primaries and gets reports about all the scuttlebutt and visits the blogs every day to keep track of the twists and turns like a soap opera? I don’t know, but somehow I doubt this occupies quite so much of the pope’s time and thought as it does ours. The reason I point this out is because it is very likely that the only information the pope has to go on is what the guy from Reuters gives him as context for the question.

Pullella went on.

One of the candidates for the White House, Republican Donald Trump, in an interview recently said that you are a political man and he even said that you are a pawn, an instrument of the Mexican government for migration politics.

This may be a shock for some people to hear, but I do not think Pope Francis, prior to this question, had any idea at all who Donald Trump is. I really don’t. Here is a man who has given his life to service of the poor; he is not keeping track of the lifestyles of the rich and famous. And so his first introduction to the name Donald Trump is in the context of bait from a reporter who is trying to generate a headline: Hey, Frank, there’s this guy Trump who has said not nice things about you. What do you have to say about that, huh?

Pullella went on.

Trump said that if he’s elected, he wants to build 2,500 kilometers of wall along the border. He wants to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, separating families, etcetera.

Talk about leading the witness on a policy proposal he likely has heard nothing about, not to mention read!

I would like to ask you, what do you think of these accusations against you and if a North American Catholic can vote for a person like this?

Again, note that it is the reporter who invites Pope Francis to comment upon the election, tries to corner him into telling American Catholics how to vote, and tries to start a war of words between a presidential candidate and the pope. It is not as though the pope addresses these topics on his own initiative, as though he were handing out a motu proprio about who to vote for. The pope does not wake up and say to himself, Let me interfere in American politics today, insult Donald Trump, and drive Coulter and Hannity wild, because, you know, those two clowns really have it coming. Limbaugh too. I’ve always hated Limbaugh.

Here is how the pope answers:

Thank God he said I was a politician because Aristotle defined the human person as ‘animal politicus.’ 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 judgment and that of the people.

Hmm. Okay, so the pope is self-effacing. He turns Trump’s words into an opportunity to joke about Aristotle, and does not show the least impulse toward defensiveness or self-justification. He says: I will let people make their own judgments.

Here is the rest of the pope’s answer.

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 has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.

A couple things are going on here, so let’s take them one at a time.

First, right in the middle of all that, the pope specifically refuses to “insert himself” into the election. “I am not going to get involved in that,” he says. He is not going to tell people how to vote. That means that the claims of Sean Hannity and the New York Times are just flat-out false.

Second, the pope’s first statement (1) is phrased generically. He does not address Trump specifically here, but just “a person.” He is making a general observation. And (2) it contains an important, qualifying adverb. “A person who thinks only about building walls … is not Christian,” the pope says. He does not say a border wall is bad of itself. Nor does he address the complexities of national security concerns. Instead he criticizes only an inordinate obsession with keeping people out and not welcoming people in.

That is “not in the Gospel,” he says, and the pope is right. In fact, Leviticus 19:34 says:

The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

A person who thinks only about building walls, and not welcoming people in, is not heeding this command of Scripture, which is nowhere done away with by the Gospel. And the Catechism of the Catholic Church, §2241, tells us this:

The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

It is also important to note that the pope only has the reporter’s description of Trump’s policy to go on. Remember what Pullella said: Trump proposes to separate families by his immigration plan! The pope is responding to the way the reporter characterized the issue, and is doing so as a general observation.

Third, when the pope does turn to Trump at the end of his answer, he phrases his response in the conditional, “if.” “If this man said these things,” etc. He is careful to admit the possibility that the reporter’s characterization is false. (The fact that the pope refers to Trump as “this man” suggests to me that he has no idea who he is, let alone what his actual policy and words are.) “We must see,” the pope says, “if he said things in this way, and in this I give him the benefit of the doubt.” Interesting: The pope gives Trump the benefit of the doubt, but he does not give Pullella the benefit of the doubt that he is characterizing Trump’s words accurately. Did you catch that?

If only we would treat the pope the way the pope treats Donald Trump: giving him the benefit of the doubt, not accepting a reporter’s characterization at face value, and going to see whether he actually said these things.

Finally, as to the pope’s words “this man is not Christian,” a Facebook friend, native Spanish speaker, and Catholic priest explains the sense of the original Spanish. (It is in this thread from February 18.)

The words would be translated to say one’s ideas and attitude are antithetical to the Gospel. The meaning is not that one is outside the membership of the baptized.

The equivalent in English would be when we say that a person is “unAmerican” but we do not mean they are an illegal alien.

In Spanish, to say a person is not a baptized Christian or that they have left Christianity, you would use another phrase, such as, “es de otra religion” or “no es miembro de la Iglesia.”

Such nuances do not always neatly carry over when words are translated into another language, and one has to always keep that in mind when trying to discern the right sense of what someone is saying. We particularly owe that courtesy to the Vicar of Christ.

As for Ann Coulter, she has this sense that it is all well and good to be Catholic, as long as your first loyalty is to America (by which she means a particularly crude form of nationalism). If your loyalty is to Church teaching and the Vicar of Christ, then you are a “ROMAN Catholic” as opposed to an “AMERICAN” one. You may even be a traitor!

She mixes this with good old-fashioned Know Nothingism, a form of American anti-Catholicism that fears the pope will reach his arm across the Atlantic and meddle in American politics. Remember 1960, when people feared that John F. Kennedy would take orders from the pope if elected? I am sorry to see that Sean Hannity, a Catholic, has himself succumbed to this brand of Know Nothingism.

When you look at the pope’s actual words, they do not support any of these fears. The pope specifically refuses to address national security questions or tell people how to vote. What he does say, about welcoming strangers and not just building walls to keep people out, is what the Scripture and the Catechism have long told us. And it is the pope’s job to tell us about those things.

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66 thoughts on “No, the Pope Is Not “Bossing Around” the U.S. on Border Wall”

  1. Älter und weiser

    I’m guessing that the pope’s comments were good for 3-5 points in the SC primary in favor of Trump.
    Catholics and Evangelicals might get along pretty well, but all you need is for the pope to poke his nose into this and you can count on a reaction to what is perceived to be an intrusion. The pope’s lack of personal discipline has unintended negative consequences once again.

  2. It is highly unlikely that “….. the only information the pope [had] to go on [was] what the guy from Reuters [gave] him as context for the question”, or that”Pope Francis, prior to this question, had [no] idea at all who Donald Trump [was].” Why? He certainly knew enough to assume he was a Christian. Why else would he have bothered to castigate the position of “this man” as being “not Christian” unless he knew that he professed to be so? His response is incoherent otherwise. Or does the author suppose that he would have also answered a question about Bernie Sanders by remarking how “not Christian” one or another of his positions was?

    To make any sense of his answer His Holiness had to know enough about the individual he was commenting on to know that he professed to be Christian and that the position as stated by the reporter was indicative of “this man” being “not Christian”. Since we know that he didn’t get that information from the reporter asking the question, he must have gotten it elsewhere. And if he knew that much, isn’t it preposterous to think he “had no idea who Donald Trump was”?

    Truth matters. I’m all for defending His Holiness, but not at the expense of Truth.

    1. You are just being an apologist for knee-jerk Pope bashing buddy.

      “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 has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.

      That is rather clear and Trump himself walked back his response a day later having read it.

      Your response assumes for some absurd reason the Pope can’t speak in the abstract or about hypothetical persons?

      If someone asked me about a some guy who thought it was OK to behead those who didn’t belong to their religion I would call that person “godless” even if I entertained the idea said person might not technically be an Atheist. It’s not hard & I don’t need to know who such a person specifically is to make a moral judgment.

      >Truth matters. I’m all for defending His Holiness, but not at the expense of Truth.

      *eye roll*

    2. Specify if you would any “Pope bashing”. I addressed the author’s point that the Pope didn’t know who Trump was. How and why is anything I wrote a negative on the Pope? And, that Trump decided, rightfully, not to engage the Pope on this is relevant to my point how?

      The Pope certainly can speak in an abstract way about a hypothetical person. He didn’t do so. In his question the reporter named the individual involved, even noting him to the a Republican candidate for President.

      You assume that after having been asked about a specific individual that the Pope supposedly knew nothing about, he chose to answer “hypothetically”. If so, then please explain why in doing so the Pope chose to remark that “this man” is “not Christian”; something that to the contrary, Donald Trump professes himself to be, and a point of information which was not addressed in the question put to the Pope? The Pope had in mind one who at least purports to be Christian did he not? Why else reference to the Christian or un-Christian nature of of the allegedly “hypothetical” position of the man to whom the reporter’s question pertained?

      Do you imagine that if a Jewish or Muslim candidate for office was the point of the question, the Pope would have presumed to comment on how un-Christian the “hypothetical” position was? Given the current state of Church relations with non-Christian faiths, I have no doubt that the Pope would have been particularly careful about castigating the views of of such a one as “not Christian”. Yet he had no reservation about doing so in framing his supposedly hypothetical response to a question asked specifically about Donald Trump; a question which contained no reference to Trump’s faith background.

      Again, Truth is at stake. The Pope’s words are clear. He was commenting on Trump and it’s clear that he knew that he was doing so. Denying that he was doing so, regardless of whether or not one likes the Pope’s answer, is disingenuous.

    3. >Specify if you would any “Pope bashing”. I addressed the author’s point that the Pope didn’t know who Trump was. How and why is anything I wrote a negative on the Pope? And, that Trump decided, rightfully, not to further engage the Pope on this is relevant to my point how?

      Rather you prove the Pope must have known who Trump was & offer air tight empirical evidence. Because it’s not one standard for me another double standard for you.

      >The Pope certainly can speak in an abstract way about a hypothetical person. He didn’t do so. In his question the reporter named the individual involved, even noting him to the a Republican candidate for President.

      How is it impossible to speak abstractly & hypothetically about a known person?

      Well?

      >You assume that after having been asked about a specific individual that the Pope supposedly knew nothing about, he chose to answer “hypothetically”.

      Why not?

      >If so, then please explain why in doing so the Pope chose to remark that “this man” is “not Christian”; something that to the contrary, Donald Trump professes himself to be, and a point of information which was not addressed in the question put to the Pope?

      Hypothetically if someone tells me Jeb Bush wants to violate puppies in a manner most un-natural then logically I can say “IF that is true such behavior is not Christian or in accordance with nature”. Doesn’t matter Jeb is a Catholic therefore a Christian.

      >The Pope had in mind one who at least purports to be Christian did he not? Why else was reference made to the Christian or un-Christian nature of of the allegedly “hypothetical” position of the man to whom the reporter’s question pertained?

      You claim to know the mind of the Pope? Are you a Jedi?

      >Do you imagine that if a Jewish or Muslim candidate for office was the point of the question, the Pope would have presumed to comment on how un-Christian the “hypothetical” position was?

      What does this have to do with the price of tea in China?

      >Given the current state of Church relations with non-Christian faiths, I have no doubt that the Pope would have been particularly careful about castigating the views of of such a one as “not Christian”. Yet he had no reservation about doing so in framing his supposedly hypothetical response to a question asked specifically about Donald Trump; a question which contained no reference to Trump’s faith background.

      Again tea price..China???

      >Again, Truth is at stake. The Pope’s words are clear. He was commenting on Trump and it’s clear that he knew that he was doing so. Denying that he was doing so, regardless of whether or not one likes the Pope’s answer, is disingenuous.

      No rather you just need to Pope bash.

    4. “Rather you prove the Pope must have known who Trump was & offer air tight empirical evidence. Because it’s not one standard for me another double standard for you.”- It’s not about the Pope, it’s about the author and apparently you, insisting that he didn’t know who Trump even was when the question and answer make it perfectly clear that he did.

      I needn’t prove anything by “air tight empirical evidence” beyond the Pope’s own words which show that he was answering in reference to a “real person” not an imaginary hypothetical one. The reporter’s question contained nothing about the religious background of the one the Pope, at least to your mind and that of the author, took as the basis of his “hypothetical” answer, yet he referenced not just any religion, but the Christian faith in reference to “this man”. The Pope had enough of a factual background to reference the Christian faith when he wasn’t asked about it in reference to “Donald Trump…the Republican candidate of President”. How did he know that being Christian or not being Christian, would be pertinent at all to an answer, hypothetical or not, given in reference to a specific question asked about “Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for President”?? You are unable or unwilling to answer a direct and clear question.

      -“You claim to know the mind of the Pope? Are you a Jedi?”

      I claim to be able to read and process his words as quoted by the international media. But of course the same silly question could be asked of anyone who has opined that the Pope didn’t know who Trump was. Like the author. And you.

      -“>Do you imagine that if a Jewish or Muslim candidate for office was the point of the question, the Pope would have presumed to comment on how un-Christian the “hypothetical” position was?

      What does this have to do with the price of tea in China?”-

      A non-answer, because you can’t provide one. I’ve suggested why I find it highly unlikely that the Pope would have made the statements he did in reference to one he knew to be a non-Christian, in support of my assertion that he knew enough about “this man”; the same one identified by the reporter as “Donald Trump…Republican…candidate for [U.S.] President…”; to remark on how un-Christian it would be to do as the reported suggested, all without a reference to Christianity in the reporter’s question.

      I strongly suspect you are feigning ignorance ( what does xxx have to do with the price of tea…) so as to avoid addressing my points in any substantive way. I doubt if I’ll be continuing with you any longer.

    5. >-It’s not about the Pope, it’s about the author and apparently you, insisting that he didn’t know who Trump even was when the question and answer make it perfectly clear that he did.

      Such perspicuity that he knew who Trump is clearly absent here.

      >I needn’t prove anything by “air tight empirical evidence” beyond the Pope’s own words which show that he was answering in reference to a “real person” not an imaginary hypothetical one.

      Except logically you can have a hypothetical discussion about a real person as per my example using conjunctions such as the word “if”.

      > The reporter’s question contained nothing about the religious background of the one the Pope, at least to your mind and that of the author, took as the basis of his “hypothetical” answer, yet he referenced not just any religion, but the Christian faith in reference to “this man”.

      The Pope was giving a moral judgment on a view attributed to this man and added a disclaimer that he gives the benefit of the doubt this was his true belief, disavows tell us who to vote for. What more do you want?

      How this shows Pope Francis has anything even resembling a passing familiarity with Trump is a mystery deeper than the Trinity?

      > The Pope had enough of a factual background to reference the Christian faith when he wasn’t asked about it in reference to “Donald Trump…the Republican candidate of President”.

      The Pope is making a moral judgment via the Christian faith….duh!

      > How did he know that being Christian or not being Christian, would be pertinent at all to an answer, hypothetical or not, given in reference to a specific question asked about “Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for President”?? You are unable or unwilling to answer a direct and clear question.

      I can make a conditional moral judgment as to something or someone being “Christian” without trying to figure out if that person is or is not validly baptized. Why is this hard?

      >–I claim to be able to read and process his words as quoted by the international media.

      So you brainlessly rely on English translations and mutilations? Noted Mr. Sheep.

      > But of course the same silly question could be asked of anyone who has opined that the Pope didn’t know who Trump was. Like the author. And you.

      The liberal media wanted to play a game of “Let’s you and him fight” they exploited the Pope for it from the right and the left. It’s kind of sick.

      >A non-answer, because you can’t provide one.

      No because it doesn’t seem to mean anything nor does it seem relevant to the argument at hand.

      >I’ve suggested why I find it highly unlikely that the Pope would have made the statements he did in reference to one he knew to be a non-Christian, in support of my assertion that he knew enough about “this man”; the same one identified by the reporter as “Donald Trump…Republican…candidate for [U.S.] President…”;

      Once can morally judge non-Christians to behaving in an anti-Christian manner. It was once remarked the Muslims and the Jews will continue to kill each other in the Holy Land till they learn to sit down and talk to each other like good Christians.

      > to remark on how un-Christian it would be to do as the reported suggested, all without a reference to Christianity in the reporter’s question.
      I strongly suspect you are feigning ignorance ( what does xxx have to do with the price of tea…) so as to avoid addressing my points in any substantive way. I doubt if I’ll be continuing with you any longer.

      I suspect my original speculation. You are just into Pope Bashing.

    6. I am addressing this as much to other readers who may in good faith still be confused about the matter at issue. Keep in mind that my initial post and all others that followed have been in regard to the author’s point, that the Pope didn’t know who Donald Trump is; something that is not believable, subject to a statement to that effect from the Pope at a later date. Deliberate attempts to construe it beyond that are not being made in good faith in my opinion.

      Consider the Pope’s answer to the question posed to him which was in pertinent part as follows:” [o]ne of the candidates for the White House, Republican Donald Trump…”; “Trump said…”; then after summarizing what he took to be Trump’s position asked, “if a North American Catholic can vote for a person like this?”; thereby making it clear as can be that the question pertained to a man known as “Trump” or “Donald Trump” and/or “Republican Donald Trump”, who was noted to be a “candidate[ ] for the White House”.

      His Holiness expressed no sense of non-recognition or befuddlement as to the identity of the individual of whom the reporter spoke.

      His Holiness answered in pertinent part: “a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.” From this we can surmise that the Pope considered it relevant in formulating his response to address whether or not the “person” just referenced and who, at least for the sake of the question at hand, holds such a view is or is not “Christian”. The reporter didn’t ask about Trumps Christian faith. Read the entire question which you can easily find. He asked whether or not “North American Catholics”; an odd way to put it, since only US citizens can vote in a US election, at least legally, could vote for such a person. The Pope, for reasons totally his own, brought up the Christian faith, or lack thereof, of the “the person” aka “Trump”, aka “Donald Trump”, aka “Republican candidate for President Donald Trump”. He delved into that on his own, unprompted by anyone. The reporter didn’t reference Trump’s Christian faith, only the responsibilities of the electorate.

      Of relevance to the point at hand, His Holiness continued: “I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that.”-While certainly true that an “if” appears in this statement and therefore he is formulating a hypothetical response, that proves what in your mind? Since my point has been that the Pope knew exactly who he was talking about, whether he is answering hypothetically bears no relevance whatsoever to anything I have posted or commented on.

      Further “this man is not Christian” in the context of the entirety of the question and answer makes it clear for reasons I have explained carefully and at length, that he knew who Trump was. Otherwise the point he was making has no meaning. Would he say in reference to Bernie Sanders, or any other public figure known NOT to be Christian that “this man is not Christian”? It would be a foolish response, since Bernie Sanders has never claimed to be and it under no duty to reference Christian morality in formulating his views. Donald Trump is. There is no other reason to address the Christian faith of “this man” if not to suggest that a position as related by the reporter, is not in accord with Christian morality, in the view of the Pope.

      Interesting comment here: “How this shows Pope Francis has anything even resembling a passing familiarity with Trump is a mystery deeper than the Trinity?”-
      Aside from the borderline sacrilegious reference to the Holy Trinity; (it’s not a matter to be thrown into discourse lightly, we’re speaking of the deepest measure of Divine Revelation. To make such a reference is akin to taking our Lord’s name in vain); the answer is clear in your next quote of mine: > The Pope had enough of a factual background to reference the Christian faith when he wasn’t asked about it in reference to “Donald Trump…the Republican candidate of President”.
      To which you responded-
      “The Pope is making a moral judgment via the Christian faith….duh!”; thereby misconstruing once again the matter at issue, and the one and only matter at issue in so far as my posts have been concerned; that the Holy Father knew who Trump was. I assume you get that point or else you wouldn’t have tried to deflect it by sidling into a point not at issue, that the Pope rightfully expounds on matters of morality. You don’t deny or in any way refute the point quoted immediately above, that “[t]he Pope has enough of a factual background[of Trump] to reference the Christian faith…”, and why? Because he knew the man, “this man” was a professed Christian! Again, the only point at issue.

      This: “So you brainlessly rely on English translations and mutilations? Noted Mr. Sheep.”
      Do I take it you have read the transcript in the original language? Has the author? If not then why are you commenting. You don’t really know what was said either. And silly point anyway. The translations have appeared in numerous news sites. Are they all getting it wrong. And do you insist on reading official Church documents only in Latin, the official language of the Church? Or do you in such cases also rely on “English translations and mutilations?”

      The this: “I can make a conditional moral judgment as to something or someone being “Christian” without trying to figure out if that person is or is not validly baptized. Why is this hard?”-
      Again not addressing the matter at hand but trying to morph it into something else altogether. The Pope knew enough about “this man” identified by the reporter by name and by his current activity, seeking election to the US Presidency, to discuss his Christian faith( that of “this man” identified as “Donald Trump”by the reporter) despite not being prompted to do so by that same reporter.

      -“I suspect my original speculation. You are just into Pope Bashing.”
      Not worth dignifying with a serious response. But notable as to how you go from admitting you are engaging in “speculation” to making a definitive statement without even so much as an “I think” qualifier.

      Unless I come across another response to an earlier post I won’t be bothering with this tiresome exercise anymore. The points are clear. I won’t waste more time engaging those who pretend either not to get them, or who reframe them into something they’re not thereby creating a straw man, which they then engage and flatten. Easy to do, since you’re really only arguing with the caricatures you’ve created in your own imagination. Bye.

    7. Anyone who even thinks it’s plausible the Holy Father knows who Trump is and that he really follows American politics as closely as a native born American is a text book case of a nutter.

      Pure and simple.

    8. Again, redirection and mischaracterization. Now it’s that His Holiness, “…really follows American politics as closely as a native born American”, whereas as along it’s been that he didn’t know of him at all, or at best to use your words a “passing familiarity”. You can’t make up your mind, did he know of him a) not at all b) with at best a “passing familiarity” or c) with some knowledge that fall short of a “native born American” who “really follows American politics”??

      You keep trying to set up a straw man to rebut, but even your own straw men are having trouble keeping their own story straight. By the way the correct answer is d)- he knows of him at least well enough to know that he is a professed Christian.

      Please give it up and get on with your life.

    9. Your view the Holy Father knew who Trump was is plain nuts as is your convoluted reasoning for this silly belief. It deserves to be laughed at loudly and with great cruelty.

    10. Well then you’re doing your part aren’t you? And “great cruelty” you say? That I’m sure our Holy Father would not approve, not even for cruelty less than great. As for the laughter, when some folks are frustrated into silence they cry. Others laugh. Even loudly. So whatever suits you. Bye.

    11. >Consider the Pope’s answer to the question posed to him which was in pertinent part as follows:” [o]ne of the candidates for the White House, Republican Donald Trump…”; “Trump said…”; then after summarizing what he took to be Trump’s position asked, “if a North American Catholic can vote for a person like this?”; thereby making it clear as can be that the question pertained to a man known as “Trump” or “Donald Trump” and/or “Republican Donald Trump”, who was noted to be a “candidate[ ] for the White House”.

      I reply: The reporter made a claim Person X believes Y so based on the assumptions the reporter presented the Holy Father he made a moral evaluation while disclaiming he was giving the benefit of the doubt this was the person’s actual view. Doesn’t even hint the Pope knew who Trump was if anything suggests the opposite.

      >His Holiness expressed no sense of non-recognition or befuddlement as to the identity of the individual of whom the reporter spoke.

      How does one express such negatives I wonder that can be picked up by you in print? Where you there?

      At this point your justification for this nosense becomes even more silly and merits mockery more than rational analysis.

      Look up the concept “Argument by special pleading”. You will see your picture in the Dictionary.

    12. -“Look up the concept “Argument by special pleading”. You will see your picture in the Dictionary.”-

      I hope it’s a good one, preferably of me with a cut out image of Pope Francis after I saw him in DC last September.

      “Where you there?”- No, like you and virtually everyone else in the world I was not. Matters not, since it was in a language I don’t know.

      – blah, blah, blah AND “Doesn’t even hint the Pope knew who Trump was if anything suggests the opposite.”- Except for the small fact that the reported related nothing about the Trump’s religious background and asked specifically about the duty of “North American Catholics” as to voting for such a neer-do-well, whereupon the Pope, unprompted by the question itself, commented on how “Christian” one supporting such monstrous views might or might not be, reasonably implying that he knew of Trump’s religious background, and hence Trump himself. See how logic and the formation of reasonable inferences work?

    13. >Where you there?”- No, like you and virtually everyone else in the world I was not. Matters not, since it was in a language I don’t know.

      Then you can’t say “His Holiness expressed no sense of non-recognition or befuddlement as to the identity of the individual of whom the reporter spoke.”

      His Holiness responded to the info given him conditionally and hypothetically. It’s as plain as a Bulgarian pin up.

      Get over it.

    14. I was never “on it” so there’s nothing to “get over”. Btw, posting one comment in isolation and citing it as proof of an entire point supported by extensive argumentation is….about the best you can do.

      -“His Holiness responded to the info given him conditionally and hypothetically….”, sure did, along with the spontaneous addition of certain information not contained in the question thereby demonstrating his prior knowledge of one Donald Trump, the one and only point I have been making all along.

      You’re wasting your life away. Please stop.

    15. One more bit of stupidity just for fun…..

      >Except for the small fact that the reporter related nothing about Trump’s religious background and asked specifically about the duty of “North American Catholics” as to voting for such a neer-do-well, whereupon the Pope, unprompted by the question itself, commented on how “Christian” one propounding such monstrous views might or might not be,i.e. (“this man….is not Christian”) reasonably implying that he knew of Trump’s religious background, and hence Trump himself. See how logic and the formation of reasonable inferences work?

      That is not logic that is special pleading. Logically the Pope is making a moral judgment(I would even except the adjective “superficial” preceding this clause) of the views the reporter attributes to Trump. He need not know anything about Trump beyond what the reporter has told him.

      BTW you are equivocating between Trump as a Christian (which from a Catholic perspective is contingent on him being validly baptized) vs views attributed to Trump which are either in line or in conflict with Christianity.

      This is all very clear but you want to put the Pope in your neat little right wing box.

    16. The reporter of course didn’t mention anything about Trump’s religion but never mind. If I say you made a good point will that make you happy? You didn’t but I’ll pretend you did if it’ll help you get on with your life.

      For purposes of this exchange it matters nothing if Trump was baptized or not. I’d explain it to you but you’re a smart guy and probably already know that but you’re pretending you don’t.

      -“you want to put the Pope in your neat little right wing box”. Of course this has never been about the Pope but about what you and others are determined to say about his prior knowledge of Trump. But again, you’re a smart guy and already know that as the point has been made ad nauseum.

      Please get on with your life. Bye.

  3. Good Lord, I could not help but thinking the entire time of reading this lame defense of an out of control pope, the now infamous words of Bubba: “It depends on what the definition of “is” is. Really, the neoCatholic defense of this pope is now reaching the level of reductio ad absurdum. Hey neoCats, the pope is not the Church. We’ve had bad pope’s before, and this one is a real stinker.

    I noticed the author also conveniently left out the part of the catechism that states immigrants are required to obey the host laws of their country. The Catholic Church recognizes a nation has a right to its sovereignty, and if it requires building a wall to keep its citizens safe, there is nothing contradictory in Church teaching. The vast majority of the Vatican City is surrounded by a wall, for crying out loud. When’s the last time you went to a papal audience, without first passing through a metal dectector? The pope needs to keep his Jesuit yapper shut, but he has proven time and again he is incapable of such humility.

    1. ” Hey neoCats, the pope is not the Church”

      You’re right, none of them are – unless they are a pope that barnabas likes.

    2. What a pathetic response. It proves you’ve got nothing of substance to counter the comments by barnabas.

    3. His answer when asked about Trump calling him a pawn is short, very clear, and correct. The misunderstandings (as Trump admitted) that I have observed have been due to willfully misconstruing, not having read the comment at all, or in Trump’s case, an adolescent knee-jerk reaction.

    4. He said he “may or may not be a pawn”, how clear is that? Frankly, I disagree with Trump, I don’t think he’s a pawn at all. Francis knows exactly what he’s doing, the whole purpose of this trip was to try and unjustly shame Americans for protecting their country from invaders to the south. He despises America and all that it stands for, I would imagine most Peronists do. But all he accomplished was to give Trump more publicity, epic fail.

    5. What he said was, “As to whether I am a pawn, well, maybe, I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to your judgment and that of the people.”

      Very clear…he does not know! You are faulting him for not giving you an answer you prefer.

      I will feel free to speculate on your motives as that is what you profess to know about him. Willful misconstruing on your part I am afraid. Generalized political accusations that you toss out do fill space but are devoid of reasoning.

    6. I lack reasoning? Lol, that’s rich. So if I claim that H.L. Duncan is being used as a pawn by progressives in order to get the hildabeast elected, you’re telling me that that you would claim “As to whether I’m a pawn, well maybe, I don’t know. I’ll leave that for you to judge”? No, of course not (unless of course you actually are a pawn and these indeed are your intentions, but you’re too much of a coward to publicly admit it). Whatever happened to the pope defending the integrity of his office? Sickening. And we’re not even addressing his heretical comments re: contraception. Again, the denial is so deep among the neoCatholics, it’s making you look stupid.

    7. Yes your comments lack reasoning and understanding of the Church.

      You complain that the pope is UNCLEAR, yet you argue that you don’t like what he has told you. Apparently you do understand what he has said.

      He is disinterested in the question and has not come to a conclusion. His travel to Mexico as pope was an interest in the welfare of his flock. He hit hard on the question of violence and “forced” migration. All governments behave mostly in a secular manner, we and the pope must live within that framework, but not be “of the world”.

      There was nothing heretical about his comment on contraception, it is not intrinsically evil.

    8. I understand exactly what he said regarding contraception, he was crystal clear on that. Fr. Lombardi even later backed up that what the pope was not misquoted. As far as his comment about being a pawn, who cares? I cannot look into his heart and say he is telling the truth, that he really doesn’t know if he is a pawn or not, as apparently you can by calling this statement “correct”. But I certainly can comment on his accusation that protecting your country from invaders is somehow “unChristian”.

      By the way, I lack understanding of the Church?

      CCC 2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil.

      If the Zika virus is indeed passed through sexual contact, the only legitimate recourse a Catholic may have is to abstain from sexual relations from their spouse, until the threat has passed.

    9. My observation of correctness deals with the clarity of his statement on immigration, “And then, a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.” Check out the NOT in that sentence. He did not say that protecting your border was not Christian.

      Even a child knows that no person has access to another’s interior thoughts, it is not necessary to exempt this from normal conversation. I also give him the “benefit of the doubt” regarding honesty.

      Regarding contraception: He summed up a discussion on the evil of the issue, “On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In
      certain cases, as in this one, or in the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul
      VI, it was clear.”

      He referred to “avoiding pregnancy” in both cases. There is not contradiction in church teaching including 2370.

      You are too anxious to condemn, and unwilling to try and understand what he is saying.

    10. A Pope Francis hater has got to hate.

      If hypothetically Trump (not that he would do this) punched Pope Francis in the nose on camera (with Ann Coulter cheering him on in the back round) guys like Chris C and Barnabas would be ragging on the Pope for assaulting Trump’s knuckles with his nose.

    11. Absolutely gutless to reference me in this manner rather than in direct response to one of my own posts. It shows that fairness and Truth mean little to you since nothing I have posted here or anywhere else supports such an attitude on my part.

    12. I don’t care what you do or don’t do. Anyone of fair mind reading my earlier post will know full well my comments weren’t with regard to the Pope but to the author and his leap in logic. Others will see that. You can’t. Or won’t.

    13. I just can’t see why it’s not obvious to you the Pope doesn’t know who Trump is and gave a clear hypothetical and conditional moral analysis of views attributed to him while clearly disavowing any personal judgment a clearly giving “the benefit of the doubt”?

    14. Maybe you can’t see it for the exact same reason you assume I would be happy to cheer on a punch to the nose of the Holy Father, which would of course be an endorsement of both a serious civil crime of violence, as well as a sacrilege.

    15. Plain Language, use of conjunctions and satire and sarcasm are clearly beyond your one dimensional thinking.

    16. Sorry but jokes about committing violence on the person of the Holy Father don’t strike me as amusing. They’re borderline sacrilegious.

    17. If you think anyone has done that please furnish proof along with a cogent argument. Any attribution of “bad faith” has been directed solely to those who insist, contrary to sound reason, that the Holy Father had no knowledge of Trump other than what a reporter advised him of in the context of asking a question. If you don’t understand that by now, you’re in denial.

    18. To date you have dismissed offering any proof the Holy Father had knowledge of Trump beyond what the reporter advised him.

      They only natural conclusion is the Holy Father had no such knowledge.

    19. You need to read a bit more carefully. I said a response from the Holy Father to that effect will suffice, albeit it will be all the more persuasive if he indicates how it was he surmised that Trump was a Christian since the reporter gave him no indication of that fact in his question. Commentary from you or others won’t do it, nor will statements from “the Vatican” unless they contain some substantiation regarding how the Pope knew Trump was Christian since the reporter didn’t mention it.

      And I’m not quite sure what “proof” would satisfy you in any event. You’ve not demonstrated the capacity to draw proper inferences from unassailable facts. Bye.

    20. At this point without proof the Pope even knew who Donald Trump was the default view is that he didn’t know anything about him apart from the brief info given him by the reporter.

      Your arguments that he knew are “arguments from special pleading” and are silly.

    21. “Avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, such as the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear.”

      NOW I understand what he’s saying. In my anxiety to condemn, I failed to put his words through the Pope Francis Apologist bullshit machine. Of course he’s not talking about contraception, his equating of the Zika situation to the (mythical) Paul VI situation is all a mirage!

    22. I am afraid you are going to have to present a quote where he approves of using contraception in the marital act to avoid pregnancy. The focus is on the unitive and the procreative not the egg and sperm.

    23. “The contraceptive or condom, in particular cases of emergency or gravity, could be the object of discernment in a serious case of conscience. This is what the Pope said.”

      -Fr. Lombardi (who was present at the interview)

    24. This question is different from the Trump response. I know that the Paul Vi dispensation has been questioned. I also agree that these remarks are not all that needs to be said on this issue.

      Where I disagree with you is your premature cry of heretic. And I don’t agree that he has approved of anything against church teaching.

      Fr. Lombari also said, ““He is not saying that this
      possibility is accepted without discernment, indeed, he said clearly
      that it can be considered in cases of special urgency”. I read this to mean more than the personal decision of a married couple since he referred of Paul VI.

      Pope Benedict XVI also had to augment his comment about the beneficial use of contraception by a male prostitute.

  4. The Pope’s comment, ‘And then, a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian’, obviously segues from material walls to metaphorical walls separating people and metaphorical bridges uniting them. To take it other than metaphorically is to take the Pope’s comment as a discussion of civil engineering.

  5. I don’t think Pope Francis has a clue about America. He should NEVER make the comments he makes while flying on an airplane. I don’t know how to defend him anymore. I’m tired of it all, THEN, he talks about Contraception!!!! OH, Dear Jesus, save us!!!!

    1. That’s funny, Duncan, I have never had a problem speaking on an airplane either! You and I are not the pope, speaking off the cuff about Contraception / The Death Pill to a secular media that, by this time, he should know is going to take him out of context and use it against the Catholic Church. I will admit that I’m not happy with Pope Francis about these kind of comments.

    2. The problem is that no matter where he is, the pope has proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that he fails miserably when he makes off-the-cuff remarks. He almost always is imprecise and vague, I suspect, because he seems to address specific scenarios in his mind (previous experience in Argentina, perhaps) without disclosing them to his listeners.

      He is the most verbose pope in history, and in his travails we are seeing a textbook illustration of at least one good reason why popes should limit their public statements to when they have something of value and gravity to say – and have done so historically.

    3. Somehow, I believe that Pope Francis knows more about the acceptance of refugees, the poor, the peoples without access to medical care than you; try looking at Matt 25. And no, we should not build real or metaphorical walls to restrain the dignity of the refugee. His comments on contraception are theologically and morally sound. Dear Jesus saved us already; once is enough. I am sure speaking while flying in a plane is problematic?

    4. You don’t know your faith. Jesus did not “save us” (Protestant error). He redeemed us on the Cross, it is up to us to work out our salvation by grace through faith and good works. The rest of your comments are just as ignorant, not surprisingly.

    5. Those who cannot refute will ridicule and dismiss … a thoroughly Catholic response….why is the mandate of Matt 25 problematic?

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