Trump election: Pope echoes concerns over immigration

Francis criticised president-elect earlier in year on views, now careful ‘not to name names’

Handout provided by Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano shows Pope Francis  greeting pilgrims at a special audience with  homeless people in the   Vatican City,  November 11th, 2016. Photograph: Osservatore Romano/EPA

Handout provided by Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano shows Pope Francis greeting pilgrims at a special audience with homeless people in the Vatican City, November 11th, 2016. Photograph: Osservatore Romano/EPA

 

Pope Francis, who earlier this year criticised the immigration policies of US president-elect Donald Trump, repeated his concerns in an interview this morning with Rome daily, La Repubblica.  

Asked what he thought of Mr Trump, the Pope replied: “I don’t make judgments on people or on politicians, all I want to do is understand the sufferings that their choices cause for the poor and the excluded.”

Whilst the Pope did not name Mr Trump, he did repeat his concern about the migration issue not only in the US but also worldwide.

Major concern

Asked what was his major concern at the moment, the Pope said: “The question of refugees and migrants...the reasons for their sufferings and hardships are many and we do what we can to remove them.  

“Unfortunately, the provisions of our help often meet with resistance from those populations who are frightened that they will lose their jobs and have their salaries reduced...

“Money works against the poor and against migrants and refugees.”

Later, the Pope added that “Christ spoke of a society where it would be the poor, the weak and the excluded who would decide. Not demagogues, not villains but rather the people.”

Last February, during his routine in-flight press conference on the way back from a visit to Mexico, the Pope had been critical of Mr Trump’s published views on immigration.  

Asked whether a Catholic could in all conscience vote for a man who wanted to deport migrants and build a 2,500km wall along the US-Mexican border, the Pope said: “A person who thinks only of building walls, wherever they might be, and not of building bridges, is not a Christian... this man is not a Christian...”

On that occasion, Mr Trump replied immediately to the Pope, calling his comments “disgraceful” and adding: “No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith.”

Senior Vatican spokesperson Greg Burke told The Irish Times that, on this occasion, the Pope had been careful “not to name names” even if he had repeated his concerns about migration policies.