“A person who thinks only to build walls, not bridges, is not Christian.” Pope Francis said it many times in recent time to help welcoming policies for migrants and refugees fleeing war, hunger and persecution. He also reaffirmed in the last months when the newly elected president of the United States, Republican Donald Trump, in the electoral campaign, he expressed himself clearly in favor of “strengthening” of the wall that separates Mexico from the United States to alienate even more the two countries and prevent further arrivals of Mexican neighbors.
The phrase of the Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio (who as a Jesuit priest, bishop and cardinal of Buenos Aires had never been in the United States) came quickly to the Trump ears. He replied blaming – not elegantly – the Pope did not have ” skills “to be able to express themselves on political issues such as the management of migratory flows. Words hard like stones for which Trump was immediately hit by a lot of criticism, especially from the Catholic world, to the point that, advised by his employees worried about losing the Catholic vote, he was forced to issue a statement to”repair” in which he assured to be a “faithful defender of Christian values” and have “sincere admiration” for the Pope.
But beyond the good intentions professed by Trump after gaffes on political incompetence of Pope Bergoglio, the controversy was a clear demonstration of how far away are political, social and human sciences positions between the new occupant of the White House and the Pope. Distances due to not only on immigration but on almost everything revolves around the figure of the American billionaire who almost surprisingly has sensationally defeated Hillary Clinton, from his way of life that does not reflect the values of Catholic morality. The rich Republican who – even before his descent into the political arena – has always given the impression of being very far from the values of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church. But it is even possible that with much effort he follows the pastoral teachings of a Pope who, not surprisingly, has chosen to call Francis to be close to the poor, close to the last and to the needy, the sick, the excluded, like the Poor of Assisi. A Pope who instead of building walls, as the new US president said, asks to “all people of good will” to give concrete help to those who need without more walls in Europe and in America.
Will Trump, now as president of the United States, try to get in tune with the feelings of the Pope of Rome and the teachings of the Catholic Church, starting from the aid to the poor, from sexual morality, respect for women, the struggle social inequality, racism, anti-Semitism? Will Trump understand, as the most powerful man in the world, that the war should be rejected, that the death penalty should be abolished, that the dialogue (religious, political, social …) is the essence of human relationships, that whoever asks to be helped should not be refused, just on the basis of what is insistently preaching the Pope?
The question is obligatory. Perhaps at this point, it would be good for Trump someone in his entourage did point out to him that the US Bishops Conference has published a document entitled “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” to help the faithful to face the difficult presidential challenge on the basis of sensitive content teachings of the Catholic hierarchy. Without mentioning, of course, preferences among the candidates, the American bishops have made a summary of the teachings of the Church on crucial issues, such as economic inequality, poverty, migration, peace, the themes of life, no to abortion, and the social ones such as work, school, the defense of the family formed by a man and a woman united in marriage. Themes that the Christian Donald Trump should know a bit better.