Trump calls Pope Francis ‘disgraceful’ for questioning his faith

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NEWBERRY, S.C. (Reuters) — Pope Francis assailed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump‘s views on U.S. immigration as “not Christian” on Thursday (Feb. 18), prompting the billionaire businessman to reprimand the religious leader as “disgraceful” for questioning his faith.

No stranger to controversy, Trump, the longtime party front-runner in national opinion polls, has vowed if elected president to build a wall between the United States and Mexico to keep out immigrants who enter illegally.

In a freewheeling conversation on his flight home from a visit to Mexico, Francis told reporters, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”

RELATED STORY: Pope Francis calls Trump ‘not Christian’

Trump, a real estate developer and former reality TV star, reacted during a speech in Kiawah Island, S.C., saying: “If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president.

“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian and as president I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened,” Trump said.

“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith.”

Trump has said he would deport millions of illegal immigrants if he wins his party’s nomination and then the Nov. 8 election. Last week, responding to the pope’s plan to visit the U.S.-Mexican border, he said that Pope Francis did not understand the Mexican border issues.

RELATED STORY: Pope’s comments could help Trump with evangelicals

“The pope is a very political person. I think he doesn’t understand the problems our country has. I don’t think he understands the danger of the open border that we have with Mexico,” Trump told the Fox Business Network.

Asked about being called a “political person,” Francis said on Thursday, “Thank God he said I was a politician because Aristotle defined the human person as ‘animal politicus.’ So at least I am a human person.”

The pope said, however, he did not want to advise American Catholics on whether or not to vote for Trump.

The pope’s remarks and Trump‘s response lit up social media, some with humor, others with more bite.

Other Twitter users speculated on how Trump would move on from the pope’s withering comment. Author Dan Dicker tweeted:

Trump‘s social media director Dan Scavino @DanScavino tweeted:

In a written statement, Trump accused the Mexican government of making disparaging remarks about him to the pope “because they want to continue to rip off the United States, both on trade and at the border, and they understand I am totally wise to them.

“The pope only heard one side of the story – he didn’t see the crime, the drug trafficking and the negative economic impact the current policies have on the United States. He doesn’t see how Mexican leadership is outsmarting President Obama and our leadership in every aspect of negotiation.”

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  • Scott Shaver

    Don’t know if, in this context, I would have used the same terminology as Trump but does remind me of why I’m not Roman Catholic. Pope or not, I don’t think the final decision in his particular hands.

  • Scott Shaver

    By the way, he does sound more “Southern Baptist” or at least “ERLC” every day.

  • William Bockstael

    Said by the top leader of a religious institution that does not allow women to be ministers because if their gender…

  • drwho13

    How tall is the wall around Vatican City? One news channel reported that it was 40 feet.

    Say 10,000 migrants set up tents in St.Peter’s Square. How long would it be before they were removed?

  • Reid E. Pagliaccio

    Said by the top leader of a religious institution that permitted hundreds of not thousands of utterly vulnerable and trusting young people and children to be subjected to ongoing criminal sexual violations of the most degraded and perverted kind.

  • “I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president.” I’m still struggling to parse that sentence, but it seems to imply that Trump doesn’t regard his chances of election too highly.

  • Jack

    You have to be thick as a brick, dumb as a rock, or as honest as a rattlesnake not to question whether Trump is a Christian. Too bad that the Pope gave Trump an out by basing his question on something like immigration on which people of faith can certainly disagree.

    The core of the issue is how can someone who claims to be a Christian stand publicly, as Trump did, and deny that he has ever had to ask anyone for forgiveness. The very definition of being a Christian is to admit exactly what Trump denies, not only that one needs forgiveness, but that Christ denied precisely so that forgiveness can be made possible. To deny the need for forgiveness is to say Christ died for nothing. One can certainly believe that but it is logically impossible to believe that and be a Christian.

    And then, of course, Trump gives no sign whatsoever that he is even trying to follow Christ. He is arrogant, boastful, vengeful, manipulative, narcissistic, and proud of it.

  • Jack

    Thank you, Pope Francis, for your foolish irrelevant left-wing political test of who’s a Christian — you just added several points to that vile charlatan’s vote total.

    The fact that people can’t see through Trump says as much about them as about him.

    It brings to mind the old statement apparently attributable to PT Barnum:

    You can’t fool an honest man.

    Those who are duped by Trump aren’t much better than he is. He and they deserve each other. The problem is the rest of the country is going to suffer because of it.

  • shawnie5

    Well said, Jack. Thank you.

  • patrick

    ” To deny the need for forgiveness is to say Christ died for nothing. One can certainly believe that but it is logically impossible to believe that and be a Christian. ”

    Well said Torquemada !
    Past time to resurrect the Inquisition.
    Sic semper haereticus
    Keep your matches dry Jack….

  • Jack

    Thank God, a voice of sanity has returned to these boards. Good to see you posting Shawnie5. You have far more patience than I do.

  • Jack

    What kind of ridiculous retort is that, Patrick? Are you really that incapable of following a simple train of thought or are you just being a jerk about it?

  • David Scott

    Neither do Southern Baptists!!!

  • David Scott

    What Pope Francis said was certainly not POLITICALLY CORRECT. However, it was the TRUTH!

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  • Shawnie5

    It’s running a little low lately, as I have precious little patience with people who despise rule of law and claim that it “doesn’t matter” what the Constitution was supposed to mean.

    Trump is of course pandering to the Christian vote with no knowledge of what Christianity is about. But that’s not much different from the way the Dems pander to the poor without really knowing, or caring, anything about the them. Politicians are mostly out for themselves.

  • Jack

    I would agree with that on all points. On poverty, I wish that on the Republican side, Christians in the GOP camp would state with greater clarity and precision the fact that there is a way to fight and win a war against poverty, not the big government way, but an older American, Tocquevillian way which is the biblical way. We can spent less money and help way more people by shutting down the big welfare bureaucracies and return power, responsibility and resources back to civil society including churches and charities with a proven track record of getting people out of poverty. It’s hard to explain in a sound bite, but proponents must try harder.

  • Jack

    David, it might be true in the narrowest of senses in that it may apply to the psychology of Trump, but as a blanket statement, one cannot say that anyone who is for a wall at our southern border isn’t a Christian. That’s going way too far.

  • Debbo

    Trump is the epitome of “disgraceful”.

  • I’ll add to what Shawnie5 said,Jack,and thank YOU for being unafraid to call this bloviating blowhard out,and speaking truth concerning his ludicrous claims about being “Christian”.We all of us who have/are living the authentic Life in Christ that we’ve been called to are well aware that there is no such thing as a say-so Christian; only live-so Christians.Cloaking yourself in the cultural patina of what YOU label”christianity”is a dead-end street going nowhere.Our Saviour was, and is, clear as to the life He’s both calls us to and empowers us to live,and anyone with even a smidgen of spiritual discernment knows that Donald Trump in no way embodies that call. As has been said,perhaps the Pope spoke out of turn,if you will,and from a faulty perspective,even so he put his finger on a truth everyone else seems to be running from like scalded dogs; even some of our presumed evangelical”leaders” are buying into and parroting Trump’s pseudo-“christian” narrative.Shame on…

  • Jack

    I agree and let me tell you something else:

    When it comes to evangelical “leaders’ who whitewash Trump and then try to sell him to the evangelical electorate, we need to clean house.

    That includes Jerry Falwell, Jr. That includes Robert Jeffress. That includes others as well who have forfeited any claim to leadership of any church body on this planet.

    I know atheist friends who have far better discernment about the moral character of Donald Trump than these so-called spiritual leaders do. They are an absolute disgrace to the Body of Christ.

    And by enabling Trump, rather than speaking truth to power and telling him he needs to repent and turn to Christ, they show they care nothing about the state of his eternal soul. .

    American evangelicalism is a moral cesspool and spiritual desert — and God bless the minority of evangelicals who are standing against this tide of corruption and foolishness.

  • Jack

    Laurence, thanks for your post. You make excellent points. I tried to reply but RNS is thus far refusing to post it.

  • Jack

    Apparently RNS thinks Donald Trump is lots of fun and doesn’t like posts that critique him or his enablers. They’re probably trying to ingratiate themselves with him in case he becomes president.

    Trying to get RNS to post any serious critiques of him is like pulling teeth.

  • Jack

    Tell that to the South Carolinian blockheads who voted for him.

    Thanks, South Carolina. And special thanks to South Carolinian evangelicals. I guess you use your Bibles for door stoppers.

  • Jack

    I suppose that from now on, enterprising con artists will head for the northern portion of South Carolina, where all the wide-eyed and bushy-tailed evangelical Trump voters reside. They will likely do a brisk business there.