Pope Francis on President Trump & Populism

Pope Francis has sent a message to President Trump on the occasion of his inaugoration as the 45th President of the U.S.A.

Within this message, Pope Francis offers his best wishes to President Trump and assures him of his prayers that President Trump will be wise and strong.

Pope Francis also voiced his hope that Mr Trump’s decisions would be guided by rich spiritual & ethical values that characterise America and that America would show concern for the poor, outcast and those in need.

Pope Francis’ full message can be read below:

Pope's message to President Trump
Pope Francis’ message to President Trump

However, at the same time as President Trump’s inaugoration, Pope Francis granted an interview to the Spanish newspaper El Pais in which he said he would hold judgment on Mr Trump until he sees what he says and does.

Pope Francis interview with El Pais
Pope Francis interview with El Pais

In that same interview however, the pope warns against the rise of populism and points out that it was by populism that Adolf Hitler came to power.  He too was voted in by his people, but he destroyed his people.

“We look for a saviour to give us back identity, and we defend ourselves with walls, barbed-wire fences, from other peoples” the Pope said.

This is clearly a reference to Mr Trumps proposed wall with Mexico which Mr Trump says is necessary to protect American workers and interests.  But the way in which Pope Francis speaks of this with the backdrop of talking about Hitler could be construed as provacative.

Pope Francis does not seem cautious to involve himself in the politics of other sovereign countries however given that he has also recently formed a commission to investigate another sovereign state in the Knights of Malta incident.

Mr Trump recognises his jurisdiction and duty to the people of America at the exclusion of other external peoples.  He is right to recognise that – he was voted in by the American people.  The Knights of Malta recognise that their internal workings are a matter for them and not for any external person to comment on.  Pope Francis however sees his jurisdiction as the entire world given to him by Christ and feels justified in exercising his jurisdiction over those who do not accept that jurisdiction.

Much more outspoken than his recent predecessors on internal politics, we will wait and see whether Pope Francis’ comments help guide other world leaders or drive a wedge in relations.

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