by Sharon Rondeau

(Feb. 19, 2016) — On Thursday, Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church and head of state of the Vatican, initiated an unsolicited personal attack on presidential candidate Donald Trump for his views on erecting a border wall between Mexico and the U.S. to keep out illegal aliens.

Just after visiting Mexico for a week, the Pope declared that “A person who thinks only about building walls — wherever they may be — and not building bridges, is not Christian,” clearly intending Trump as his target as a result of Trump’s previous comments on the matter.

A translation of Pope Francis’s comments made aboard his airplane includes the statement that “As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not getting involved in that. I say only 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.”

At 6:24 p.m., following wide reportage of the pope’s unexpected foray into American politics, The Washington Post crowed, “Pope Francis joins a chorus of world leaders in condemning Donald Trump.”

Condemning him for what?

Trump has expressed his intention to “build a wall” between the U.S. and Mexico and have Mexico pay for it.  He also advocates the cessation of immigration to the U.S. of Middle Eastern refugees from predominantly-Muslim countries until “our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”

In 1948, U.S. immigration “policy” allowed for the absorption of 205,000 refugees “fleeing persecution.”  In 1952, immigration law was changed by Congress to restrict immigration “from the Eastern Hemisphere.”  In 1953, the number of refugees permitted to enter the U.S. was increased by 200,000.

In 1986, immigration “reform” included the legalization of approximately two million illegal aliens and, among other changes, “established sanctions prohibiting employers from hiring, recruiting, or referring for a fee aliens known to be unauthorized to work in the United States.”

A summary of 1990 legislation passed by Congress under President George H.W. Bush reads:

Comprehensive immigration legislation provided for (1) increased total immigration under an overall flexible cap of 675,000 immigrants beginning in fiscal year 1995, preceded by a 700,000 level during fiscal years 1992 through 1994, (2) created separate admission categories for family-sponsored, employment-based, and diversity immigrants, (3) revised all grounds for exclusion and deportation, significantly rewriting the political and ideological grounds and repealing some grounds for exclusion, (4) authorized the Attorney General to grant temporary protected status to undocumented alien nationals of designated countries subject to armed conflict or natural disasters, and designated such status for Salvadorans, (5) revised and established new nonimmigrant admission categories, (6) revised and extended through fiscal year 1994 the Visa Waiver Program, (7) revised naturalization authority and requirements, and (8) revised enforcement activities.

For desiring to seal the borders and deport illegal aliens, Trump has received derision, criticism, and opposition from several public figures from other countries in addition to the Pope.

The Washington Post wrote, “As the pontiff took the rare step of injecting his views into the U.S. campaign, his remarks underscored the anxiety coursing through world capitals about a possible Trump presidency. Francis noted Trump’s promise to deport an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States illegally and make Mexico pay for a wall along the border to keep them out.”

The Los Angeles Times characterized Trump’s response, which called Pope Francis’s remarks about his faith “disgraceful,” as “sharp criticism.”

The left-leaning Christian Science Monitor published an article titled, “Donald Trump vs. Pope Francis: Game-changer in South Carolina?” subtitled, “Pope Francis’s suggestion that Donald Trump isn’t Christian, over his position on immigration, adds a wrinkle to the South Carolina GOP primary, where Evangelicals dominate.”

The Monitor’s article begins:

Has Donald Trump met his match?

When Pope Francis suggested to reporters Thursday that Mr. Trump “is not a Christian,” because of his tough approach to illegal immigration, a firestorm ensued. Trump responded as he always does: by going on the attack.

A report issued on Friday morning stated that the Pope’s comments were “impelled, like so much of the campaign, by Trump’s language on Mexican immigration.”   “…And no leading presidential candidate has so sharply criticized a major religious figure as Trump did in reply,” reported the Business Mirror.

Reuters called the Pope’s unsolicited remarks “a sign of global concern.”  “The pope was winning the social media battle on Thursday with overall sentiment for Trump negative and for Francis positive, according to social media analytic firm Zoomph. Author Dan Dicker @Dan_Dicker tweeted, ‘Let’s see @realDonaldTrump insult his way out of this,'” Reuters continued.

Following the announcement on Saturday evening of the death of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Obama said in public remarks that he “continued to believe that Donald Trump will not be president.”

Obama and the Pope agree on the alleged impending threat of “climate change,” and both oppose border enforcement as evidenced by the Pope’s remarks on Thursday and Obama’s reported instructions, through the Department of Homeland Security, to U.S. Border Patrol agents to cease detaining illegals who cross the border from Mexico.

In September, during his first visit to the U.S., the Pope said, “Climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation.”  Last spring, Obama told the graduating class at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy that “The threat of a changing climate cuts to the very core of your service.”

As with Obama, many have questioned whether or not the Pope is a socialist.

The left-leaning Daily Beast, which is owned by Newsweek, asked under the category heading, “Trumped,” “Did Pope Francis Just Sink Trump?”

A misleading Washington Post article with the headline, “Loser Pope takes on Donald Trump, suffers massive humiliation, slinks off to Vatican” reported that “Donald Trump has somehow managed to bait His Holiness into a public fight…” Writer Greg Sargent added, in regard to the Pope’s alleged “restraint,” “You’ll be shocked to hear that this restraint did not cause Trump to temper his response in the slightest…”

Sargent describes himself as providing ” “’opinionated reporting’ from the left.”

On February 12 in an interview with Fox Business Network, Trump had said that the Pope is a “very political person” and that he “he didn’t think the pope ‘understands the danger of the open border we have with Mexico.’”  At the time, Fox reported:

But the pope has gently, but clearly, weighed in on the immigration debate in America, and the heated rhetoric on the issue.

In his address to Congress last September, Pope Francis  urged lawmakers not to be “fearful of foreigners” and reminded them that many are “descended from immigrants.”

Pope Francis heads to Mexico Friday for a one-week trip.

Among other things, the pontiff, the child of immigrants himself, is expected to address Mexico’s immigration problem.

The Atlantic, which is noticeably not unbiased in any of its reporting, wrote that Trump had “lectured” the Pope on the issues he sees resulting from illegal immigration on the Mexican border:

To be fair, Trump started it. Before Pope Francis arrived in Mexico last week, the U.S. Republican presidential candidate lectured him about problems with immigration and security at the U.S. border. “I think that the pope is a very political person,” Trump said. “I think he doesn’t understand the problems that our country has.”

The Vatican could have chosen to swat this away, dismissing Trump’s importance as a political figure or ignoring his comments altogether. Instead, Francis and his communications team have savvily used the free publicity that seems to follow Trump to bring attention to the message of the pope’s trip: Christians and governments alike are called to care for migrants and the poor, including those who try to cross the Mexican border every day. On Wednesday, a Vatican spokesperson called Trump’s comments “very strange.” And on Thursday, Francis himself addressed Trump’s comments in a conversation with reporters on his return flight to Rome.

In responding on Thursday, Trump assigned responsibility for the Pontiff’s comments to Mexico, as he had on February 12.  His official response posted on his website reads:

If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened. ISIS would have been eradicated unlike what is happening now with our all talk, no action politicians.

The Mexican government and its leadership has made many disparaging remarks about me to the Pope, because they want to continue to rip off the United States, both on trade and at the border, and they understand I am totally wise to them. The Pope only heard one side of the story – he didn’t see the crime, the drug trafficking and the negative economic impact the current policies have on the United States. He doesn’t see how Mexican leadership is outsmarting President Obama and our leadership in every aspect of negotiation.

For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian and as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now, with our current President. No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith. They are using the Pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so, especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant.

A mother whose son was tortured and killed by an illegal alien told Breibart News later on Thursday, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard the Pope say one thing about our families [families who have lost loved ones at the hands of illegal immigrants]. I’m not sure he understands the loss we have felt…”

Pope Francis replaced Pope Benedict XVI on March 13, 2013, who unexpectedly resigned.

On December 13 of that year, The New York Times reported:

Pope Francis moved on Monday against a conservative American cardinal who has been an outspoken critic of abortion and same-sex marriage, by replacing him on a powerful Vatican committee with another American who is less identified with the culture wars within the Roman Catholic Church.

The pope’s decision to remove Cardinal Raymond L. Burke from the Congregation for Bishops was taken by church experts to be a signal that Francis is willing to disrupt the Vatican establishment in order to be more inclusive.

Last August, the Pew Research Center reported that 46% of Americans surveyed supported the building of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, with 47% opposed.

However, five years earlier in July 2010, Rasmussen reported that 68% of Americans supported building a order fence or wall.  The mother of a California man killed by an illegal alien in a motor vehicle accident said last year that illegals kill between 3,000 and 5,000 Americans every year.

During remarks made at the conclusion of the ASEAN summit last Saturday just following the official announcement that U.S. Supreme Court Associte Justice Antonin Scalia had passed away, Obama said, “I continue to believe Mr. Trump will not be president.”

On Thursday, The New York Times reported that the Pope, on his last day in Mexico, “…celebrated Mass, as a crowd of more than 200,000 people stood barely a stone’s throw from the border and listened to the pope call for compassion for immigrants fleeing chaos, poverty and war.”

On Friday, The Times posted an article headlined, “A Donald Trump Victory Could Clash With South Carolina’s Self-Image.”  The article begins:

Republicans in South Carolina have in recent years raced ahead of the national party in presenting an inclusive face to voters: Since 2010, the state has elected an Indian-American governor and the country’s only black Republican senator, and its Republican-controlled Legislature voted last summer to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the Capitol.

So, for party leaders and mainstream voters here, it may come as a kind of deflating climax if — as is widely expected — Donald J. Trump easily wins the state’s presidential primary on Saturday.

Oregon Live wrote of the clash between Francis and Trump, “If American Catholics take Francis’s criticism to heart, the pontiff’s comment could be a detriment to the billionaire businessman’s campaign. According to data from the Pew Research Center, there are roughly 24.5 million Republican or Republican-leaning Catholics in the United States. Pew estimates more than half of them believe Trump would be a good president.”

On Friday, the India Times reported that Trump issued a new statement on Thursday’s incident which the paper characterized as “a damage-control move.”  However, the Times quoted Trump as having said at a South Carolina rally:

I don’t like fighting with the Pope, actually. I don’t think this is a fight. I think he said something much softer than was originally reported by the media. I think that he heard one side of the story, which is probably by the Mexican government.  I have a lot of respect for the Pope. I think he’s got a lot of personality. He’s a very different kind of a guy, and I think he’s doing a very good job. He’s a lot of energy.” [sic]

On the Fox News Channel on Friday at approximately 11:42 a.m. EST, two commentators speaking with co-anchor Jenna Lee agreed that Trump is “unelectable.”


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