At his weekly general audience, Pope Francis made remarks that appear to target President Donald Trump and his hateful policies. Francis implored real Christians “to not raise walls but bridges, to not respond to evil with evil, to overcome evil with good.”
Then the Pope appeared to go off-script for a moment, spontaneously announcing, “A Christian can never say ‘I’ll make you pay for that’. Never! That is not a Christian gesture. An offense is overcome with forgiveness, by living in peace with everyone.”
These remarks are clearly aimed at Donald Trump, who recently ordered the construction of the Mexican border wall, and who made ‘Mexico will pay for it’ a rallying cry. Trump built his campaign on xenophobia, exploiting and exacerbating fears of outsiders and the ‘other’ – and on petty vengeance on anyone who dared to criticize him. Whether making them pay for it literally or figuratively, Trump demands a heavy toll wherever he lays his tiny hands.
Trump, is, of course, the furthest thing from a “true Christian” one could possibly be. He is man who gleefully boasts of his sins and casually violates every basic tenet of human decency and politeness. He worships nothing but himself and his ego; he knows but one god, and that god is Trump, expressed in the unholy trinity of Inauguration Attendance Numbers, Celebrity Apprentice Ratings, and the Electoral College Margin of Victory.
Francis has defined his papacy by advocating for the world’s refugees, the impoverished, and the marginalized. He is the antithesis to Trump’s twisted and perverse worldview.
When Trump took office on January 20, 2017, Francis sent him a message urging Trump to be guided by ethical values and to use his position as president to care for society’s poor and outcasts. The Pope’s words seem to have been lost on Trump but they are guiding light for the rest of the world as we respond to Trump’s presidency. We need to listen to his message of peace, unity, and economic justice now more than ever.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.