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Francis and Trump: Populist Leaders Preaching Different Messages

Tiziani Fabi/AFP

Pope Francis is greeted by wellwishers upon his arrival to Saint Peter's square at the Vatican for his Jubilee Audience on January 30, 2016. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. he has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable Year of the Lord" Luke 4:18-19 Photo by Tiziani Fabi

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 02/20/16

An interesting analysis from The New York Times this morning:

In the cage fight of American presidential politics, the matchup is irresistible: Pope Francis, leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, the pope of the poor who has knelt to wash the feet of prisoners and Muslims, versus Donald J. Trump, billionaire Republican who disparages Muslims and kneels to no one. When Francis suggested that Mr. Trump “is not Christian” in answering a reporter’s question during his return flight from Mexico, the Latin American pope not only served up red meat for global headline writers (“Francis Excommunicates Trump,” declared La Stampa in Italy), but again demonstrated his knack for sticking his nose into putatively secular affairs. His flap with Mr. Trump is about immigration, and to Francis the issue transcends any campaign cycle. The Francis-versus-Trump dynamic is undeniably a made-for-media clash. But overlooked in that frame is that each man has diagnosed the same currents in society, fishing for followers in seas churning with anger, dislocation, spiritual alienation and economic inequality… …Giovanni Maria Vian, the editor in chief of the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, said every pope was “both religious and political.” Pope John Paul II was a famously political pope for his role during the Cold War in bringing down the Iron Curtain that divided East from West. Francis, born in Argentina, has a different focus. “Francis’s walls are between the north and south of the world, and that’s why they bother him,” Mr. Vian said in a telephone interview. “His reactions are moral, not political.”

Read it all. 

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