ROME (RNS) It’s hard to see how Francesca Chaouqui could find herself any more at odds with Pope Francis than she already is, given that the Italian PR consultant is on trial in the Vatican for leaking sensitive documents that made the pontiff’s reform efforts look bad.
But now Chaouqui has gone and given a digital thumbs-up to the one U.S. presidential candidate whose policies Francis has described as “not Christian.”
“And go @realDonaldTrump !!!” Chaouqui tweeted as the billionaire real estate mogul won big in the New York primary Tuesday night (April 19), solidifying his front-runner status for the Republican nomination.
Chaouqui had been on a commission tasked with advising the pope on reforming the Vatican administration but was later charged — along with a Spanish priest on the commission who had a crush on her — with passing internal documents to two Italian journalists.
The two authors, who also face Vatican charges, wrote books based on the documents that detailed the dysfunction and corruption in the Vatican’s finances, embarrassing the Holy See, which says Francis has made great strides in cleaning up the problems.
Chaouqui seems to have become particularly alienated by the whole process: Her Twitter avatar is a photo of a statue of Giordano Bruno, a Dominican monk who was burned at the stake in Rome for heresy in 1600.
Perhaps another item underscoring Chaouqui’s distance from Francis is that the pontiff hosted Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders overnight at his residence last week and then met with him briefly on Saturday morning.
Sanders is a great fan of the pope’s, while Trump has periodically blasted the pontiff in his uniquely Trumpian way.
But Francis dismissed claims he was influencing the presidential campaign, telling reporters: “If anyone thinks that greeting someone is getting involved in politics, I recommend that he look for a psychiatrist.”
(Rosie Scammell covers the Vatican for RNS)