For Catholics, Dismay and Delight Over Pope’s Clash With Trump
The New York Times asked readers to share their reactions after Pope Francis suggested on Thursday that Donald J. Trump is “not Christian.”
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” Francis said in response to a question about the Republican presidential candidate, whose is in a virtual tie with Senator Ted Cruz in a national poll. Mr. Trump called the pope’s remarks “disgraceful.”
The clash gave rise to some strong opinions among American voters, and we asked readers: “Has the exchange between the pope and Mr. Trump changed your views of either man?”
By Friday morning, readers had submitted more than 4,300 responses. Using only the submissions from those who identified as weekly church-going Catholics, we compiled some representative samples and organized them by political affiliation.
A few replies were edited for brevity.
“I’m even more disappointed with Our Pontiff. He embraces ‘liberation theology’, which is Marxism masquerading as Christianity. It would be Christian of the Holy Father to sell the Treasures of the Vatican and give the money to the poor.”
“What bothers me about Pope Francis is the mixed messages he often gives during his interviews and off-the-cuff remarks.
“Yes, he’s said some very good things in recent times, but other statements he’s made have been perplexing at best. We already have enough confusion in the Church and in the culture; we don’t need more.
“Also, I can’t help but think the pope’s ‘Who am I to judge?’ remark – which was imprudent to begin with – applies only to certain people, and that apparently doesn’t include Donald Trump.”
“It infuriates me with the pope. He has no place in our politics and has not seen fit to say such things about Fidel Castro, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and a host of Marxist leaders around the world.
“Not only that, but all of the Republicans support a wall and a way to control our borders just as the Vatican does.
“It is hypocrisy, political tinkering at its worse. All the while he has attacked capitalism, which is the reason why we have immigrants risking life and limb to come here. He should stick to religious teaching and leave the politics to the rest of us.”
“Yes and no. My opinion of New York City’s leading citizen remains unchanged. I have often found myself both adoring and being deeply disappointed in the pontiff, but he has now added profoundly annoying to my feelings about him. Anyone who forces me to defend Donald Trump just makes me angry.”