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Pope’s Comments May Be a Godsend for Trump

The controversy over Pope Francis’s comments on Donald Trump may have just completed the front-runner’s coronation as the Republican nominee for president.

Americans admire the pope. Catholics do too, despite his liberal opinions. He is their religious leader and the living embodiment of their faith. But by being perceived as effectively excommunicating Trump from the Christian religion, Francis may have built sympathy for a candidate who has commanded respect from the massive numbers of Republicans who back him — but who now may add “I feel sorry for him” to the list of reasons to back him.

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel,” Francis said during a flight that took him from a nearly week-long stay in Mexico back to the Vatican. “This man is not Christian if he talks that way,” the pontiff said.

Catholic League President William Donohue noted that the pontiff’s comments, as reported, might not accurately reflect the pope’s sentiments. “Quite frankly, the pope was set up by the reporter,” Donohue said. “Because the question that was the lead-up to the question to the pope was, ‘What about if somebody wants to deport 11 million illegal aliens, separating families?'”

Donohue noted that Trump has explicitly said he does not want to separate families. “He’s asked to comment about what Trump said, when he gets an incomplete analysis,” Donohue said.

But whether the pope’s feelings are misconstrued or not, the perception is that Francis has cast Trump as anti-Christian. It is label that would also be applied to millions of Americans who ardently share Trump’s view that excessive and illegal immigration must come to an end and a wall must be built. That includes many Catholics. Many of those who have been harmed by immigration are working-class Catholics who are struggling economically and who, while still loving their pope, may themselves be offended by such words.

That means that those who think Francis has harmed Trump have it backwards.

Trump’s battle with the pope may play well with some evangelicals, among whom remnants of past antagonism toward Catholicism probably abides. That could help Trump a bit in states with large Republican evangelical voting blocs, such as South Carolina and the many southern states that will participate in the March 1 Super Tuesday primaries. Big wins for Trump in South Carolina and on Super Tuesday will all but seal his nomination for the presidency.

Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Marco Rubio, who may be tempted to stay in the race until the March 15 primaries in their respective states, Ohio and Florida, may not get any respite if they’re hoping the larger Catholic populations there will rally behind the pope and help save them. Polling suggests Americans, and even Catholics, aren’t much influenced by the pope’s views on political matters.

“The pope’s ability to shape U.S. public opinion may be limited,” the Associated Press reported Thursday. An October AP poll found that just 14 percent of Americans, and just 32 percent of Catholics, had closely followed the pope’s visit to the U.S. in September, despite the tremendous media coverage.

The AP poll found most Americans had no strong opinion of the pope’s handling of immigration issues.

“Among all Americans, 24 percent approved and 14 percent disapproved of his handling of immigration, but more than 6 in 10 Americans said they neither approved nor disapproved, or had no opinion,” the AP wrote. “Among Catholics, 37 percent said they approved and 16 percent disapproved, but nearly half had no strong opinion either way.”

The poll “found no impact on the views of American Catholics or Americans generally on climate change after his visit, which focused largely on global warming as a moral issue.”

Trump, in classic fashion, shot right back.

“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful,” Trump said. “Who the hell cares?” he added. “We have to stop illegal immigration, massive crime.”

Trump, who is Presbyterian, said he is a Christian “and proud of it.” He said the pope may not be aware of “the crime, the drug trafficking, and negative economic impact” that too much immigration from Mexico has caused the United States.

Americans do not approve of anyone from overseas lecturing them about U.S. policy. And that sentiment, in all likelihood, applies to Pope Francis as well — as Rubio and Kasich are about to find out.

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46 Responses to Pope’s Comments May Be a Godsend for Trump

  1. I agree with you Keith, This will help Trump. Went to Catholic schools myself, my family raised us in strict Catholic life revolving around the church. The church has betrayed people like me, the abuse of children and making money off illegal immigration makes me sick.
    The Pope lives behind a wall, built to keep the Muslims out. This is has been a painful realization for me, and betcha I am not alone. I will always have my faith, but the church lost me.

  2. I’m old enough to remember when the American left was all about separation of church and state, keep your rosaries off my ovaries, and all that horse puckey, when St. John Paul II was in charge.

    Now that they’ve got a fellow-traveler that sports a fisherman’s ring, they’ve gotten religion in a very convenient hurry.

  3. I don’t believe what Pope Francis said will affect Trump.

    He is a candidate, like all the others– you either like him or don’t.

    Personally, I don’t think Trump is religous. I know the current president isn’t.

    The candidates know it is a big deal to many, so they all play up their religion. However many voters, like the general population is turning from religion unfortunately.

  4. As a recovering Catholic, I find this pope uh, just horrible. He is a socialist commie who wants the whole world to adhere to his obtuse beliefs. His job is to lead the Catholic Church, not tour the world espousing his personal views on everyone.

  5. Since when does the Pope get involved in politics? And he certainly should not!! As he lives in his sheltered Vatican City, he should but out. He has no clue what the hell is going on in this country. I think he might want to check on our pResident and talk about his Christianity as he visits various Mosques in this country. Eff the pope.

        • You are welcome. They were thought provoking to me as well. As you might know, I am from a family of immigrants from Slovakia and Hungary. They settled in the PA Rust Belt for coal mining and steel work. Most of my family stayed there. My father did not. They are mostly Democrats and low, middle and upper “Class”. I understand why they are mostly Democrats. Although I will never understand their blindness in regards to HRC, BO and the corruption of the DNC and Dem Party. Most are teachers, coaches, healthcare workers, social workers, and some in finance. /Catholic and exCatholic, warm and family oriented. Over the years the towns where our parents settled decayed and opportunities were lost. So, it hit “home” for me in considering my heritage.

          • Random thoughts…
            I’ve had a busy day with family responsibilities but still found time to think about these blog post referrals, gracepc.
            I did not know your heritage. Honestly, I am not certain about mine more than 4 or 5 generations past. So, if I may say it, you are honored to know your family history.
            One of the most insightful comments in those posts that I (quickly) read this morning included an observation that professors, etc. don’t care/know what truck drivers think. I doubt that truck drivers know or care what professors think either.
            However, the thought I had was “That is precisely our national problem now.” We have been successfully divided.
            (Remember? United we stand, divided we fall.)
            As I ran my errands today, I pondered “What do people do for a living today?” There are no more factory based company towns.
            I guess the future is in health care and government work and education. We will educate people to procrastinate and be poor decision makers so they will become stellar government employees…and to provide free and less than adequate medical care to all those who chose to become dopers.
            I don’t see a lot of hope on the horizon for this country no matter who is elected.
            The Washington elite is a protected class…THE Protected Class and they will decide what we need and when or if we need it.
            How did we come to this sad state? Makes me sick.

      • Those were indeed worth the read. I liked the “we know the secret handshake” line. I suppose the idea of shaming people who want to support a certain candidate has been around a long time, as in:

        “You support Roosevelt!!!!???? Are you mad?? Are you asleep??”

        “You support Abraham Lincoln?????? You have obviously lost your mind!! You should move to Canada where you could live with your own kind!”

        “John Adams is obviously a full blown nut. Why would you throw your vote away by voting for him???”

        We’ve see this stuff every election, of course. But this election cycle seems to be particularly intense with “How can you possibly support
        Trump/Rubio/Kasich/Carson/Cruz?????” Don’t you see how awful they are?? Why can’t you see how revolting Trump/Rubio/Kasich/Carson/Cruz in the way I see how revolting they are? It’s in plain sight! Do your research!!! Don’t be so dumb!!”

        So it’s an interesting phenomenon, fun to watch and participate in. The comments in those essays you referred us to are insightful, indeed.

    • Thanks for the articles to read! I am stating my opinion of Trump. I am tired of the half truths, his. hypocrisy, name calling and scorched earth mentality.

      What a hypocrite! To sit there and only hours before call into question Senator Cruz’s personal Christianity and act so child like when his own beliefs are challenged. When did Donald Trump become the judge of whether someone is religious. Someone of Cuban descent can’t be Christian? Is that somewhere in Three Corinthians? LOL

      We have had 8 years a egotistical narcissist. Where did it get us?

      • I respect your opinion. I learned some things from those articles about some voters and perceptions of candidates and just thought I would pass it along.

        I also like Ted Cruz and it was interesting to see how he and Trump could appeal to different elements of the same “class”, so to speak.

    • Another takeaway I got was that we would not be any more respectfully regarded abroad under Trump–other world leaders have also expressed contempt. But I know clips, quotes, and specifics are irrelevant to his followers–though I see from this thread, those of us who are not charmed by this person should read and heed.

      • STar, I can’t think of another world leader at this time whom/who/that :) I respect or a country that is doing a good job facing some of the same problems we are having.

        I want America to be respected abroad. That will come when we get our domestic act together.

        • It will more likely (my view) come when we have reasoned, consistent policies, a plan against ISIS (besides taking “their” oil or making the sand glow), less desperation to please at the negotiating table (without ultimatums and threats), and yes, a constantly communicated love of our own country (sans constant, exhausting drama).

      • Not sure about the politicians’ opinion of Trump at this point, but as I listen to callers on talk shows in the UK, France, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, etc. there is overwhelming appreciation of Trump. (a few, of course, are freaking out, asking for smelling salts, lest they faint at the sound of his name). Most common point I hear callers making: “I wish we had someone like Trump in this country.” Or, in French, “Je regrette que nous n’ayons pas quelqu’un comme Trump dans ce pays.” Or in German,” Ich wünsche, dass wir jemanden wie Trumpf in diesem Land hatten.” But what do they know? ;}

  6. The Pope should mind his own business about the U.S.! He should stick to is prayers and spreading LOVE, that is his job, not gossiping and spreading racism and hate like Obama, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, who are by far the ugliest presidential candidates I have ever heard and seen, inside and out. Trump is the only one that will be honest with the American people. Vote Trump, there is no one else at this time, we need him, he is the only one that can help us now, save us from these communist/socialists who will take all of our money, raise taxes through the roof.

  7. I agree, the dear old man made a big mistake and Trump will benefit from it. Church should not get involved in politics, we have enough of that over here. Our female Archbishop talks like she is a progressive multicultural environmentalist. Nothing for our starving souls there. Not many listen, either.
    But I can´t help laughing. Goodnatured, that is. Did Trump really say : “Who the hell cares. I am a Christian and proud of it .”

  8. I disagree on one point – we don’t feel sorry for MrTrump because of the HolyFather’s ignorant remarks about him.
    Ignorant as relates to why MrTrump and millions of American Christians (and non-Christians)want our border protected and the criminal invaders deported back to wherever they come from.
    Laws. Laws passed by our Congress, supported by the population, honored by law-abiding immigrants are what guarantees we will remain the shining star of nations and the prized destination of millions of foreigners.

  9. Who is the pope to be sticking his nose into our politics? He is protected 24/7, either with private security, or by the walls he’s deemed racist and non Christian our country. Screw him and his bleeding heart. He could take his life of luxury and give it all to the poor. But yet he doesn’t. Awful high and mighty if you ask me. Not to mention the church for years has swept under the rug sexual abuse. Guess that’s being Christian.

  10. Funny line just out from Trump: “We are going to build a wall just like the one around Vatican City.” LOL. Poor Francis. He stepped in it big time.

  11. I noted that The Pope didn’t diss The Donald until he was winging his way home to the Vatican, which by the way, is walled in and guarded. Hypocrisy, thy name is Religion.