or, in this case, someone. Presumably, by now you’ve heard of the exchange of words between Pope Francis and American presidential aspirant Donald Trump, reported here at CNN:
(CNN)Thrusting himself into the combative 2016 presidential campaign, Pope Francis said Thursday that GOP front-runner Donald Trump “is not Christian” if he calls for the deportation of undocumented immigrants and pledges to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.
The Pope, who was traveling back to Rome from Mexico, where he urged the United States to address the “humanitarian crisis” on its southern border, did not tell American Catholics not to vote for Trump.
Here’s what Francis actually said:
A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian. This is not 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 is man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and I will give him the benefit of the doubt.
Daring to rush in where angels fear to tread, I think that on the plane of faith and morals Francis is right. As Christians we have an affirmative responsibility to reach out to the truly needy. However, and as rarely mentioned by pontiffs, civil authorities also have a moral responsibility to see that the laws are executed, to ensure that people who would do harm to people or property are prevented from entering the country, and to preserve order.
It may be that Francis and I disagree on one particular point. I don’t think our responsibility to the truly needy should be construed as a blanket guarantee for anybody who wants to to work in the United States.
I’d also be interested in Francis’s views on some questions. For example, if I have two dollars, do I have a moral obligation to give one of them to someone who only has one dollar? Also, do migrants have moral obligations, too? I think the answers to those questions are “No” and “Yes”, respectively.
As to the other half of the conversation, I don’t care whether Donald Trump is a Christian or not and I don’t care what Francis says about Donald Trump (or vice versa).
I also think that Francis is taking it a little easy on wealthy Mexicans. Income inequality there is worse than it is here (second worst in the OECD, according to this backgrounder). And what about the “humanitarian crisis” on Mexico’s southern border? And they’re supposed to be Catholics. Selective criticism makes it sound as though he has the typical European intellectual’s disdain for America and all things American.