Pope reportedly says he won’t judge Trump but will watch impact on poor

| Cindy Wooden | November 11, 2016 | 1 Comment
Bags of food and supplies are distributed to poor people in Athens, Greece, Nov. 9. CNS/Orestis Panagiotou, EPA

Bags of food and supplies are distributed to poor people in Athens, Greece, Nov. 9. CNS/Orestis Panagiotou, EPA

The day before Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, Pope Francis said he would make no judgments about the candidate and was interested only in the impact his policies would have on the poor.

Eugenio Scalfari, co-founder and former editor of La Repubblica, an Italian daily, said he met with Pope Francis Nov. 7 and asked him what he thought of Trump.

“I don’t give judgments about persons and politicians; I only want to understand what sufferings their way of proceeding will cause the poor and excluded,” the pope said, according to Scalfari.

The journalist has explained on more than one occasion that he does not take notes or record his conversations with the pope; he re-creates them afterward from memory, including the material he puts in quotation marks.

Scalfari, in an article published Nov. 11, said Pope Francis said his greatest concern today is for refugees and immigrants.

“Only a small portion of them are Christian, but that does not change the situation in terms of their suffering and neediness,” the pope said. “The causes are many,” and Christians must do what they can to solve the underlying problems forcing so many to flee.

Unfortunately, Pope Francis said, too many times the measures adopted in the face of migration are those taken by “populations that fear seeing their jobs taken away and their salaries reduced.”

“There are poor people in wealthy countries who are afraid of welcoming those like them from poor countries,” the pope said. “It’s a perverse cycle that must be interrupted. We must tear down the walls that divide, try to increase well-being and make it more widespread. But to do that, we must tear down walls and build bridges that diminish inequalities and increase freedom and rights.”

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  • Charles C.

    I suspect that Pope Francis is looking at the new administration with a sense of realistic hope concerning poverty.

    After he had been Pope for a year, and Obama had been President for five years (January – February 2014), this could be written:

    “As of 2014, some six years after the beginning of the recession and during a period of “recovery,” the rate of poverty remains high at 14.8%. In fact, according to these government statistics, the rate of poverty for every year Obama has been president is higher than it was for every year during George W. Bush’s presidency.

    “The percent of people below 125% of the official poverty rate has also been higher every year under Obama than during Bush’s presidency, and has been over 19% every year from 2010 through 2014. The highest level it reached under Bush was during the start of the recession in 2008 when it was at 17.9%.”

    And:

    “Fifty years after President Johnson started a $20 trillion taxpayer-funded war on poverty, the overall percentage of impoverished people in the U.S. has declined only slightly and the poor have lost ground under President Obama.

    “Although the president often rails against income inequality in America, his policies have had little impact overall on poverty. A record 47 million Americans receive food stamps, about 13 million more than when he took office.

    “The poverty rate has stood at 15 percent for three consecutive years, the first time that has happened since the mid-1960s.”

    Thus, a new administration, a new way at looking at problems, may be just the solution which the nation’s poor, and the Pope, have been hoping for.