Pope Francis, a man who lives in a country surrounded on all sides by a gigantic wall, has objected to Donald Trump’s plans to build his own wall to stop illegal immigrants.
Granted, the Vatican’s wall was built to stop marauding hordes of barbarians who didn’t obey Roman laws, didn’t speak Latin, and were mostly just attracted by Rome’s wealth and opportunities.
They were nothing like the illegal Mexican immigrants Trump wants to keep out. Unlike the Visigoths, Mexicans all speak a Latin dialect of some kind. And they have no intent to flout Roman laws — just Californian, Texan and Floridian statutes.
As a Catholic, albeit more of a Benedict XVI fan, Pope Francis is my spiritual leader. But that doesn’t mean he’s my political leader. When he says that Trump’s plan is un-Christian, I’m afraid to say I disagree with him. Daddy Trump is right, and Il Papa is wrong.
In case you don’t know, papal infallibility has a very specific meaning. It certainly doesn’t mean the pope is never wrong, and on prudential issues like immigration policy, taxation and so on I’d argue that this pope, who isn’t nearly as clever as his more stern but also less emotionally incontinent predecessors, screws up rather a lot.
Now, if you think I’m being outrageously presumptuous and skidding toward excommunication… well, you might be right. I can’t say I’m a particularly good Catholic, despite the amount of time I spend on my knees, but being a bad Catholic and then paying for it is kind of our thing. So let me share a few thoughts and hope for the best.
The key problem with Francis is that he’s a socialist, and, unlike his predecessor, not sharp enough to realise that socialism always ends the same way: oppression, misery and destitution.
That’s not precisely accurate: it’s better to say that Francis fails to understand as Benedict XIV and John Paul II both instinctively did, that socialism is the flat enemy of Christianity — it’s a perverted ghost of Christian charity.
What’s incontrovertible is that it’s Christianity married to capitalism that does the best job of raising the poor out of penury and giving everyone a fair crack at reaching their emotional, economic and spiritual potential.
Proclaiming that The Donald’s robust policies are “anti-Christian” is remarkable — and, yes, probably a bit disgraceful, as Trump suggested on Facebook. At the same time, it won’t be hard for Trump to get out of it. All he has to do is call himself an “undocumented Christian,” and I’m sure the pope will endorse him for President.
Strangely, we haven’t heard pope Francis say anything about the sitting President, who grew up attending Islamic Madrasahs, and later a “Black Liberation Theology” Church, which famously included a pastor who said “God Damn America.”
He’s been curiously silent about the Democratic candidates, too, perhaps because endorsing an atheist socialist or a woman whose acquaintance with the truth gives Old Nick a run for his money might come across as hypocritical, given how much more appropriate the phrase “un-Christian” would be for either of the leading left-wing candidates.
It’s little wonder that the pope’s popularity is plummeting so fast among Americans. Heaven help him, he’s actually approaching congressional levels of contempt. Is it any wonder, when his Bishops are so heavily politicised?
— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) February 18, 2016
It’s also worth pointing out, as one Twitter user did recently, that the Church has come dangerously close to violating the rules on tax-free status in the US, which is conditional on it remaining apolitical. Maybe Francis is desperate to pay taxes? I wouldn’t put it past him, but this is the Catholic church we’re talking about so I’m guessing no.
Is the Pope's attack on a presidential candidate, a violation of tax-free status. @Pontifex
— TIMENOUT (@TIMENOUT) February 18, 2016
Here’s a hard truth for the pope: modern Catholicism was born out of a Trump-like reinvigoration. Following the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church went through a counter-Reformation which was, in effect, a successful effort to “Make Catholicism Great Again.” Donald Trump wants America to have its own reformation and its own return to glory.
The counter-Reformation imposed strict spiritual boundaries around Catholicism, differentiating itself from Protestantism and preventing it from becoming permanently diluted. Trump wants to build his own boundaries around America, both physical and cultural. Trump’s rallying cry and the counter-Reformation are both, in their own ways, appeals to the base and returns to reliable, populist centrism.
Trump also promises the restoration of America’s economic fortunes, basic security, and place in the world. Exactly what Catholics wanted after the chaos of the Reformation. He even has his Jesuits: the alt-right. (Just to frustrate National Review writers eager for blood, I’ll refrain from casting myself as Ignatius of Loyola.)
Of course, the pope avoided naming Trump directly in his remarks this week, instead choosing to attack his signature policy. According to Francis, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”
Well, Holy Father, I think Pope Leo IV, Pope Paul III, Pope Pius IV, and Pope Urban VIII, all of whom expanded the Vatican’s fortifications, might beg to differ. Many other religious states have absolutely no problem with walls. Just ask the Jews in Israel how much they enjoy not having pizza parlors explode after putting up their border barriers.
I can’t help but note that it’s often Catholic countries that economic migrants are fleeing from to come to America. Should Francis apologise for a faith that certainly clothes a nation in style and gives it great food and awesome parties, but which is hopeless at liberating the poor from corrupt governments?
After all, it’s lousy supposedly Catholic regimes in Latin America that are the reason so many people want to get into Texas, California and Florida, isn’t it? Come to think of it, why didn’t Il Papa go to Mexico’s southern border to feel sorry for all the Guatemalans, Hondurans and Salvadorans who desperately flee to Mexico but get marched immediately back home?
Either way, Trump’s right when he says the Vatican is clearly ISIS’s number one target. And Francis’s well-meaning blundering on immigration is going to do nothing to help Catholics either in Europe or already legally in America. Trump’s policies will.
But enough about the Vatican’s defenses. (They really are huge, by the way — and yes, they have several lovely doors built into them.) I’m sure the pope will be tearing his own wall down soon, as my colleagues Ben Shapiro and John Nolte have suggested.
The real reason the pope is wrong is thanks, as I say, to his radical left-wing school of religious thought, known as “liberation theology.” Liberation theology is Marxism with a crucifix. It views capitalism, self-interest, and other pragmatic values as inherently un-Christian.
According to liberation theologists, moving wealth from the rich to the poor is a good thing. So it’s only natural that pope Francis would oppose a sensible border policy for America, or any wealthy nation for that matter.
Although, oddly enough, the Vatican itself still has border controls. And did I mention that massive wall? Oh, and a huge pile of wealth. If the pope is so keen on redistribution, why doesn’t he redistribute some of the Vatican’s? It seems Pope Francis is a man of extreme words, but not extreme action.
Still, I guess virtue signalling is kinda part of the job. We Catholics sort of invented social justice, too, but the less said about that the better. (In fact, if you’re interested in the origin of that term, and how progressives perverted it, as they do everything, you should read this.)
Trump, in contrast to the pope, lives in a manner more redolent of prosperity theology, also known as the “health and wealth” gospel, which is much closer to my beliefs. Although it was originally a Protestant doctrine, some Catholics have adopted a modified version of it.
Sensibly, this doctrine asserts that in order to help others, you first have to help yourself. Impoverishing a country by flooding its borders with unskilled workers is no way to help anyone. In my own life, I recognise that it’s all very well giving speeches to students at my own expense, but I won’t do my best work unless I first treat myself to some new Gucci loafers and a briefcase from Louis Vuitton.
Pope Francis should realise that liberation theology is a mistake. It’s like an updated version of the Spanish Inquisition. Both were started with the best of intentions, but end up in misery and death for those affected — just like any other kind of socialism.
This misguided doctrine is no way to help decent, law-abiding Catholics, and it’s no way to help poor, desperate immigrants either. Trump may seem harsh, but he’s not being anti-Christian. The road to hell is paved with Marxist intentions.
That gives me an idea — a really good idea — to help the poor. Why not bring back indulgences? Face it, I’m rich and sometimes I feel a bit bound by Catholicism. I mean I love it, but you know, I f*** up occasionally. Sometimes twice in one night. Sometimes twice in one guy!
My point is, I pay the Vatican, and the Vatican tells God, “Look, he had a three-way with Somali pirates but he also fed 1,000 poor people.” Boom. Instead of telling countries where they can and can’t build walls, let’s get some synergy between lapsed Catholics and the ol’ world hunger problem. The check’s in the mail, padre.