Monday, February 22, 2016

Pope Francis vs. Trump

The Pope Francis-Trump news event is a perfect example of what is wrong with the modern media. If you search for the complete text of what the Pope said, you will find it difficult to find. And there is a reason for that. What the Pope said was quite clever and amorphous--like a repartee in a European court. Rather than pointed, it was a generality and, as such, has to be scoured for controversy. Here is the question and answer:

Q: Good evening, Your Holiness. Today you spoke eloquently about the problems of migrants. On the other side of the frontier there's a very tough electoral campaign going on. One of the Republican candidates for the White House, Donald Trump, in a recent interview, said you are a "political man" and that maybe you are a pawn of the Mexican government as far as immigration policy is concerned. He has said that if elected, he would build a 2,500-kilometer-long wall along the border. He wants to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, thus separating families, etc. I would like to ask you, first off, what do you think of these accusations against you, and if an American Catholic can vote for someone like this.

A: 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. As to whether I am a pawn, well, maybe, I don't know. I'll leave that up to your judgment and that of the people. And then, a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.

I am not a big fan of Liberation Theology--and I think this Pope is--but what the press did with this educated and measured statement is characteristic of what is wrong in our modern news. The absolute last thing a news reporter wants is an answer. The LAST. What he want is a bridge to the next flare-up, the next concern or anxiety. No answer can close a discussion; every answer is a tool to stir the next pot.

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