Pope Trump 2
Foreign Affairs

Pope Trump: walls, bridges, and judging who is a real Christian

 

Pope Trump has decreed more than a few anathemas, and has himself been anathematised by more than a few. “If anyone denies that Muslims, visible and invisible, do not present something of a security problem and that we need a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States while we figure out what the hell is going on, let him be anathema. If anyone is so bold as to assert that a woman who has a discharge, and her discharge in her flesh is blood, she should not be hosting a television show, let him be anathema. If anyone says that the substance or essence of Mexicans is not basically that of druggies and rapists, and that we need a great, great wall along the Mexican-American border, let him be anathema.”

Pope Francis doesn’t particularly like any of this, so has himself issued a decree: “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,” he pontificated. Pope Trump finds Pope Francis “a very political person“, and Pope Francis, draped in saintly white and denying that he is a very political person, intervenes directly and dramatically in the US presidential race and tells Roman Catholic Republicans not to vote for Pope Trump, for he is the anti-Christ.

And so the Pope of Rome has excommunicated the Pope of Manhattan, and the Pope of Manhattan has responded in kind. Venom, mud and obloquy.

Pope Francis has rather proved Pope Trump’s point, for both are manifestly very political popes, but only one should descend to the undignified fray of partisan politicking about contentious matters of policy. The Pope of Rome did try to backtrack a little, qualifying his extempore anathema with: “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 said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.”

But Pope Trump did most definitely say these things, of that there is no doubt, and so there is no benefit to be found in that granting of the benefit of any further doubt. And so we are left with a papal decree that Donald Trump is not a Christian, which isn’t going to go down well in certain southern states where a presidential candidate’s Christian credentials are a matter of political salvation or damnation.

But who is Pope Francis to judge whether a man is saved or not? Any why is the matter of walls and bridges the determining fruit of faith? Why is the wall-building presidential candidate not a Christian, while the abortion-advocating candidate escapes without censure? And what of the candidate who builds bridges to deception, error and idolatry? Clearly, not all bridge-building is beneficial, and one might expect one who styles himself ‘Pontifex’ — that is bridge — to understand that wall-building is sometimes a necessary strategy for survival. Whether in Rome or Manhattan, political popes do not tend to live up fortified towers or behind fortress walls for nothing: they have enemies — immigrants even — who seek to kill and destroy. You cannot be a bridge to a million immigrants who neither share nor respect your culture without profoundly changing your culture.

Is Ted Cruz a Christian? Is Ben Carson? Is President Obama? Is the individualist? Is the corporatist? Is the Civil Rights leader? Is the gospel singer? Is the one who believes in God’s unmerited favour, or the one who believes in the Spirit-infused soul? Who can judge? Hymns and prayers do not sanctify: ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?‘ (Mt 7:16). More than a few Roman Catholics are sifting the papal wheat from the chaff, and find this particular Pontifex more than a little wanting.

There is an undoubted moral obligation and scriptural exhortation to treat immigrants with compassion, for they are our brothers and sisters in the fellowship of humanity. But there is also a moral obligation upon our political leaders to govern wisely, justly and righteously for the common good; for peace and security. Pope Trump might offend with his venomous anti-immigrant rhetoric, but Pope Francis equally offends by looking into a man’s soul and determining that he is no Christian: ‘For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God‘ (Rom 3:23).

Politicians err, and so do popes. You may judge them by your pure apprehension of scriptural righteousness and spiritual discernment. But who made you pope?

  • sarky

    Sorry, but ‘pope trump’ sounds just wrong.

    • CliveM

      Pope trumps

      • William Lewis

        Have you just created a new Top Trumps category, Clive?

        • CliveM

          LOL how would you decide who trumps who?

          • William Lewis

            One can think of a few categories: number of papal bulls, infallible pronouncements, years in office, etc

          • CliveM

            How about the Avignon anti Popes?

          • William Lewis

            Mmmm. Too troublesome, I think.

          • Pubcrawler

            Number of ‘nephews’…

          • William Lewis

            Presumably the fewer the better.

    • HedgehogFive

      Why, O Sarky?

      Pope Trump? More like a Grand Mufsi.

      (A Mufti issues fatwas, a Mufsi – well, FASWA is Arabic for a fart.)

  • William Lewis

    What a meddlesome muddle, Your Grace. Great piece! 🙂

  • David

    Only God knows who is a Christian or not. So the pope has clearly exceeded his “job specification”.
    The trouble with this generation of liberal leaders of Churches is that their liberal and, or socialist politics often seems to lead, overpower even, their spiritual discernment. Patriots in particular tend to be attacked, whilst the pro-abortionists and liberal destroyers of family life and Christian sexual morality are allowed free passage.

  • Ivan M

    My loopy Pope has also urged the European Sarah, not to wait coyly at the door for the dark Stranger from Africa, but to be more forthcoming. I guess this is where the Muslims come in. If Sarah remains barren at least we have got Hagar. What a joke this Pope is, sometimes.

  • Ivan M

    Whatever Pope Francis says about Mr Trump, is not going to hurt him, since his base is largely indifferent to the Pope in these matters. It may even help him, as the evangelicals rally around a Proddie insulted by the Whore of Babylon, to the detriment of cuck Cruz, who is once again trying out, the well-worn trick of fooling the Jesus people with talk of ending Planned Parenthood.

  • The Explorer

    The term ‘Christian’ was first used in ‘Acts’ 11:26 to describe those who accepted the teaching of the Apostles. Walls and bridges may have been implicit in that teaching, but they were certainly not the priority; certainly not the thing by which one would define a Christian.

    Is a bridge a good thing? Not if it’s going to be used to transport slaves.

    Is a wall a bad thing? Not necessarily. The New Jerusalem is described as having walls. Monasteries had walls. Walls keep criminals contained. Criminals might think that’s a bad thing, but their victims don’t.

    Suppose that in the future, as could happen, an ideology arose that wanted to suppress Christianity. Would it be a Christian act to welcome the force that would destroy Christianity? Building walls, literal and metaphorical, might even be a Christian thing to do.

    Building a wall for defensive purposes is natural. The Chinese built a wall to keep out barbarians. So did Hadrian. The Marxists built the Berlin Wall to stop pseudo-Marxists from escaping. When the North Koreans ban Bibles they are building a metaphorical wall against subversive ideas. Islam has a powerful cultural wall – death, or at least ostracism – against leaving the faith. And so on.

    • Ivan M

      Horowitz found friends on the Right, so it could not have been so bad. The red-diapers found the myth-making of their parents intolerable, but had to wait for the demise of Richard Nixon. After that it became respectable to have enemies on the Left.

      • The Explorer

        Horowitz survived, but his point that barriers are erected against those who change sides, and against their ideas, is a valid one.

  • Findaráto

    The US Administration has never had a better excuse for starting to tax the Catholic Church as a political lobby group.

    • Ivan M

      They checked with you yet? If anything, you should be paying higher taxes for for your multiple personalities.

    • Anton

      Provided it does the same to Islam, given that the Quran contains political exhortations whereas the New Testament doesn’t.

      • Findaráto

        Good idea.

        • Ivan M

          Barrack Hussein has checked with you yet?

    • IanCad

      Yep!! Take away their 501(c) privileges.

      • Findaráto

        Exactly. Only they’ll probably claim the Pope has nothing to do with them because he’s not a US bishop.

        Will the Amercan Church deny papal supremacy to keep their tax privileges? Nothing would surprise me less…

  • cacheton

    ‘Pope Francis equally offends by looking into a man’s soul and determining that he is no Christian’
    PF has commented that PT’s ideas do not correspond to the gospel, and therefore not christianity. Where does ‘soul’ come into it? What exactly is offensive?

  • Uncle Brian

    I wouldn’t have expected the Pope’s remarks to have made much of a dent in Trump’s prospects for winning in South Carolina, but apparently his campaign managers were sufficiently concerned to advise him to tone down his initial reaction.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-35610126

    • Ivan M

      It can only benefit him to react calmly. He is the leading contender but needs to build bridges to the Latinos if he wants to be President.

      • IanCad

        Point being though Ivan, the sentiments of the legal, working Latinos do not reflect those of the legal vocal minority on whom the outside world seems to base their conclusions.

        • Ivan M

          Trumps nationwide polling among Republicans seem to have stabilised around 40%. I don’t think he can win the election without broader support.

          • IanCad

            You may well be correct. The Democratic race is as unusual as the Republican.
            Other candidates may yet declare.

          • Uncle Brian

            Other candidates may yet declare.
            Who would Bloomberg take votes away from? My guess is the GOP, meaning a boost for Clinton or Sanders, but that’s only a guess. Has there been any polling along these lines?

          • IanCad

            Some, but I don’t recall the figures. Couldn’t have been very significant or it would have registered.
            Bloomberg is such a nanny that he would attract the worst from both parties if he gets the nomination – or, if he runs as an independent.

          • Ivan M

            I hope they do something. President Hilary would be a disaster.

    • Anton

      This is great publicity for Trump in a predominantly protestant land. I understand that after an initial outburst he has since praised the Pope. That’s astute.

  • Anton

    Is Ted Cruz a Christian? Is Ben Carson? Is President Obama? Is the individualist? Is the corporatist? Is the Civil Rights leader? Is the gospel singer? Is the one who believes in God’s unmerited favour, or the one who believes in the Spirit-infused soul?

    Nice rhetoric, Your Grace. Allow me to add one more: Is the Pope a Catholic?

    • James60498 .

      Strange that last point.

      Is it just coincidence or is it due to a general realisation of the situation that I have not heard that question asked much recently? Certainly not in the way it has traditionally been asked. Though I have seen it asked on various Catholic websites.

      And the answer is quite possibly a “no”

      • IanCad

        Given that he is a fully paid up member of the Jesuit Order; created to re-establish the Church of Rome in all its former glory and power – I would say the answer is a definite Yes!
        He is undisputed leader of the Church of Climate Change. “Sustainability Sunday” is up and running. He is considered to be the moral leader of the world. Kings bow, governments scrape, and even the irreligious seem content to assign to him the role of arbiter of all.

        • Anton

          The Jesuits went from ultraconservative to ultraliberal after the war and how and why it happened bemuse me. Perhaps one of our Catholic contributors could say more?

          • IanCad

            More than one way to skin a cat Anton.
            Not giving substance to any conspiracy theories but let’s face it; Rome likes to rule – or at least it certainly used to, and did.
            Wait for it — The Two Swords Doctrine, (Subsidiarity?) will come up as a counter argument.

          • Uncle Brian

            How and why I don’t know but it certainly happened, mainly in the United States, and more markedly in some orders, including the Jesuits, than in others. Some Catholic commentators associate it with the rise of the Lavender Mafia, which in turn can be attributed at least in part, to the sharp decline in the number of vocations from the sixties onward, meaning that the Church was effectively having its arm twisted and started accepting candidates it would previously have rejected as unsuitable. There may be some truth in this but it can hardly be the whole truth, I think.

          • Ivan M

            Well the antisemites are pretty sure how it happened.

  • There is nothing morally wrong or unchristian in Trump’s plan to build a wall. Even Christians lock their homes at night – to keep their families safe and not to keep the poor outside. Those who wish to come in should knock at the door, and not break in through a window. Most countries have legitimate security concerns and strong borders are necessary.

    Trump has offered practical solutions to some serious problems. Walls are certainly better than guns and bombs. Migrants, in large numbers will find it difficult to integrate, so it is better to manage those problems before they enter, than create a situation of divisiveness or treat them badly once they are inside.

    That said, it is very difficult to assess the personal integrity of politicians (or for billionaire businessmen, for that matter); their subsequent actions rarely match their words. The media seem to have lost the ability to ask the right questions; they seem more interested in keeping serious problems – such as the Cologne attacks – under wraps, and generally silencing debate. So we are unlikely to be given a full picture at this point.

    I recently watched 2 interviews with Assad on youtube and some of the things he said about the West’s approach to the problem of immigration and Islam make a lot of sense:


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_WrS-CNrZM

    • Ivan M

      That’s why they want him removed. Assad talks too much sense. The worse the better for the neocons. Even the better coverage damn him with faint praise. It seems never to have occurred to these people to ask why a harmless doctor living a quite life in the UK became the barrel bomb Hitler..

      • it is a very difficult to know who is telling the truth at the moment. The media is hardly impartial, and the police have been instructed not to inform the public of crimes by migrants.

        • Ivan M

          The camps since they are no go areas for the police will fall into the hands of extortionists and gangsters.

        • Anton

          I expect that is true, but can you give a reference?

          • Anton

            Thank you. It’s worth saying that that’s Sweden, although I have no confidence that similar political correctness could not happen here.

            The police do deserve some sympathy, because although they have to say that they will get their man, they do ultimately depend on cooperation from the community in nabbing criminals – and some communities don’t cooperate. It is not only out of political correctness that police recruitment concentrates on minorities. The police are not the Army.

            Exposure to the ways of different communities via a small amount of immigration is a good thing, allowing the best customs of others to be taken up. But that is a very different thing from today’s out-of-control immigration, and the real criminals are those who have facilitated it.

          • “The police do deserve some sympathy…”

            I agree with that and also about the general benefits of migration. I had spent a good part of my life in different countries as an expat (since childhood), so I fully understand that there are adjustments to be made and, how nice it feels when locals are welcoming. I also find places with lots of different types of people more vibrant and interesting.

            However, transplanting large communities of Muslims to another country – especially when you don’t have enough jobs for them – is asking for trouble. As Assad pointed out in one of his interviews, the Saudis were allowed to propagate their version of Islam in Europe – the West having ‘sold their souls for the petrodollars’, as he put it – so it is going to be very difficult to control the situation.

      • When you read about the terrible things that Assad is supposed to have done (all of which could be true), I remember the days of the Iraq-Iran war. Saddam Hussein was supposed to be a good guy then and the media had nothing bad to say about him.

        The Iraqi TV used to be full of crowds holding up pictures of Saddam Hussein – very much like the Iranian TV then, which was full of Khomeini’s pictures. Though I was a child then, I wondered whether there could be any difference between 2 countries whose TV stations constantly entertained their public with the scary faces of their leaders.

  • David

    Surely walls and bridges are mere artefacts which can be used either for good or evil, according to the desires in peoples’ hearts ? So of themselves they are morally neutral.
    This pope seems increasingly (being polite here), well eccentric, perhaps ?
    I’ll leave my Catholic friends to express more distinct opinions on his utterances.

  • Wrecking white countries is becoming a papal hobby horse:

    ‘…the liberal Christianity of the 1950s was a model of reasonableness compared to the aggressive open‑borders policy of the Roman Catholic Church under Pope John Paul II. Like any alienated liberal or one-world capitalist, the Pope sanctified non-Western immigrants while delegitimizing the Western nations he was ordering to include them. He deliberately undermined US law when he came to Texas in 1987 and endorsed the Sanctuary Movement, a network of organizations that transport and hide illegal aliens who come here from Central America.

    In portraying immigration restriction as a moral crime, but only when it is practiced by Westerners, the Pope would have effectively denied Western countries any control over their own borders. In his trip to the US in October 1995 he further intruded himself into American domestic politics, declaring that any attempt to control legal or illegal immigration or to ban public assistance to illegal aliens was a sin.

    As immigration expert David Simcox summed up the Pope’s policy, “Church pronouncements now affirm immigration as a virtually absolute right, while they have qualified the regulatory rights of states to the point where they are emptied of any legitimate scope of action.” A Church official has written: “Catholic citizens are required to work to see that as far as possible the laws of their countries adhere to this universal norm [of open borders].”’—Lawrence Auster

    Pope Donald gets my vote:

    ‘If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President.’—The Independent

    • Ivan M

      ISIS is on the run but I agree with the rest of your post.

      • @ Ivan M—Whatever the fate of ISIS, Italy’s Muslims will one day, Allah volente, become a majority and assume power. Once Vatican City is in their hands (no need for violence, just cut off the utilities), they can move in, clear St Peter’s of its bric-a-brac and give the Sistine Chapel a coat of whitewash.

        • DanJ0

          Ouch

        • The Explorer

          Precisely what was done to Sancta Sophia, until Ataturk declared it a museum.

        • Anton

          I’d regret that. But not the Sala Regia which is the adjacent vestibule.

        • Ivan M

          Where is the Barbarrosa of today? Where is Suleiman the Magnificent? Things will just potter along.

  • IanCad

    YG,

    I eventually learned that it is impossible, absolutely impossible, for a Brit, born and raised to the age of maturity in the UK, to understand Americans. Can’t be done – sort of like understanding a woman. Thus all Brits should be a little cautious when predicting or pontificating as to how citizens of that sturdy land will respond to the blatherings of a foreign prince.

    That said, it is perfectly safe to make observations.

    The first being that Americans revere their constitution. Sure, most have not read the entirety of that concise tome of enlightenment. Most have however, read The Bill of Rights. Of that most the mostest can the recite the First Amendment; and in that glorious homage to the emancipation of action and conscience, slumbers the notion that the church is separate from the state.

    It is written on the souls of by far the greater part of the electorate, and they won’t like Papa’s interference one bit.

    The Pope may be the best backer Trump has snagged yet.

    • Uncle Brian

      An American blogger at the Catholic Herald agrees that, once again, in yet another airborne news conference, Pope Francis has put his foot in it:

      “Pope Francis’s comments will only help Trump”

      http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2016/02/19/pope-franciss-comments-will-only-help-trump/

      • IanCad

        Thanks for the story UB.
        from Stephen Rice – an American viewpoint.
        And, at the risk of undermining the theme of my prior post;perfectly understandable.,

    • Anton

      Ian, it took me more than 20 years to “understand” America – something I was highly motivated to do, moreover – but I think I do now. It is a creative tension between the Enlightenment and Puritanism.

      • IanCad

        It took me more than twenty years of “understanding” before reality set in.

        • Anton

          I always knew I didn’t until I reached my present position.

          • IanCad

            Give it a few more years.

          • Anton

            Did you reach that position and then decide it wouldn’t do? If so, what made you dissatisfied? If not, how can you reject it out of hand?

    • carl jacobs

      – sort of like understanding a woman.

      A highly unworkable illustration. You should have said something like “understanding Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.”

      • IanCad

        You ain’t met my wife.

        • carl jacobs

          See, but that’s the point. You’re “like a woman” illustration implies some irrationality in America that precludes understanding. But this is not the case.

          • IanCad

            No Carl – not at all – I would say it is precisely their enviable rationality, moderated by flashes of insanity, that makes them so unfathomable to us flaky British.

          • CliveM

            I would say insanity with flashes of rationality!

        • James60498 .

          I tried to uptick that twice but it didn’t work.

          Not of course that I have met your wife, but absolutely support the principle.

      • Anton

        That’s easy!

        • carl jacobs

          You don’t count.

  • No Name

    Sounds like a familiar tale. East West Schism anyone?

  • Uncle Brian

    Meanwhile, on Your Grace’s side of the Atlantic, Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne has drawn attention to the fact that Christian refugees are being persecuted in Germany. Speaking at an ecumenical service in Düsseldorf on 13 February, he said it was alarming that Christians were being threatened by other asylum seekers in refugee camps.

    http://www.thetablet.co.uk/world-news/5/8020/muslims-torment-christians-in-refugee-shelters

    Gottfried Martens, a Protestant pastor, told katholisch.de that the “mobbing” of Christian refugees in refugee camps in Germany was increasing. He said it was no longer rare for entire Muslim communities in refugee shelters to threaten Christians. He claimed that Christians had been forced to watch videos of beheadings, were barred from using the kitchen because they were “unclean” and had been beaten up and their crosses removed from their necks.

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/02/19/christian-refugees-are-under-threat-from-other-asylum-seekers-says-german-bishop/

    • The Explorer

      t can’t be true. Muslims don’t do that sort of thing. Islam is a religion of peace; it’s Christianity that is innately violent. If something did happen, it must be that the Christians provoked the Muslims, and the Muslims were acting in self-defence.

  • The Explorer

    A parable. There are two lifeboats. Each will hold seventy people. The one is at capacity, but is well organised and with enough emergency rations for those on board. The other is disorganised and capsizes: spilling all its occupants and rations into the water. Those in the water swim to the first boat and climb aboard until the first boat also capsizes and spills its occupants. All from both boats are drowned, but there has been a marvellous opportunity before dying for those in the first boat to exercise compassion.

    • Ivan M

      In version 3, the half-Maori, Captain Linus-Tutanekai takes over both boats and shatters them on the Pink Whale…

  • len

    I see the Pope slipped up the other day(in more ways than one) and the real man behind the mask slipped out,( not quite ‘Christ on Earth’ as many Popes have claimed to be)
    Trump just keeps rolling along like some sort of out of control Juggernaut smashing through all opposition, where will it all end?………….. in the White House perhaps?

    • Anton

      Her’s a link to the website of an ultratraditionalist Catholic woman who takes the Mundabor line on Pope Francis, about a screaming tantrum (literally) that he threw in public last October:

      http://www.barnhardt.biz/2016/01/19/storytime-when-our-lord-and-savior-pope-francis-bergoglio-threw-a-raging-fit-so-bad-they-had-to-clear-out-the-luxury-hotel-he-lives-in/

      • Uncle Brian

        The only source quoted in the Il Giornale report is this:

        http://www.dagospia.com/

        … which looks like a lot of fun, but would you care to guarantee its reliability? I don’t think I would. Even Mundabor would think twice about it, I suspect, however juicy the gossip.

        Sandro Magister is given due credit for breaking the news of the Letter of the Thirteen, but his blog didn’t mention any pontifical rage, screaming, or heart attacks. Nor has he ever said anything about the Swiss Guards in this connection. Why do you suppose that was? Is Magister, too, part of the wall of silence thrown up to protect “Papa Bergoglio”? I don’t think so.

        • Anton

          The owner of that blog claims to know somebody who knows a priest who was present, independent of the media reports. The stridency of that blog is wearing but I believe its owner would not lie about such a matter. She gave up a lucrative business because she believed that the financial system was loaded against her clients, and she spoke often and well of Pope Benedict. If you are still sceptical I’m not going to bat or bowl for her beyond that; I’m just saving you some time if you wish to check her out.

          • Uncle Brian

            She “claims to know somebody who knows a priest who was present.” On her own admission, then, she is passing on third-hand information. I would call that gossip. Wouldn’t you?

          • Anton

            No. I think a good definition of gossip is where there is no chance of establishing a chain of transmission.

        • James60498 .

          You could have warned me, Uncle Brian.

          Glad no one was looking over my shoulder when I clicked on that!!!

          • Uncle Brian

            Well, I said it looked like a lot of fun!

          • James60498 .

            You did. Just wasn’t sure what kind of fun you meant!!

        • Anton
          • Uncle Brian

            What, exactly, are we being asked to believe? On Monday, October 12, last year, at around 7 p.m., Pope Francis was reportedly in a public space of some kind – a dining room, perhaps? – inside the Casa Santa Marta when someone showed him what Sandro Magister had posted on his blog earlier that day, under the title Thirteen Cardinals Have Written to the Pope. Here’s the Letter. Link:

            http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1351154

            Francis, at that time, was supposedly still nursing a grievance against Magister dating back to the Laudato Si leak, nearly five months earlier. Francis is said to have lost his temper, uttered a string of expletives and/or threats directed at the thirteen cardinals, and had to be calmed down in case his blood pressure had risen to a dangerous level. All those present, so the story goes, were warned to keep mum about the embarrassing emotional outburst they had just witnessed.

            If that much is true, I suppose I would probably be prepared to believe it, if I could find it reported anywhere in a reliable newspaper, magazine, blog, website, or anything else. But Mundabor doesn’t seem to have picked up on it (though sifting through his back files is a long, slow business, and I can’t claim to have done it thoroughly) and neither has Magister himself. Why not? I find that a bit suspicious. It’s really still only gossip.

          • Anton

            I differ from you somewhat on how well established it is that this took place. I’ve no axe to grind on the subject; let each decide for himself.

    • Ivan M

      The Republican field is an exceptionally weak one this year. Trump looms like a giant since the lot has been culled by the Zion worshippers.

      • Aran’Gar

        I disagree, compare the overflowing Republican field with the Democrats, who have but two.
        There is considerable diversity in the Republican leadership race, though the establishment candidates are getting nowhere.

        • Ivan M

          The number of candidates is not the point. If Trump had no money he would have to sing Zion’s tune. The Republicans have as much effective choice as the Democrats.

  • The Explorer

    I remember a session of ‘The Big Questions’ in which a Muslim girl argued that Christians should oppose restrictions on immigration to Britain because Christians were supposed to love their neighbour, and loving their neighbour meant letting in whoever wanted to come.

    Two thoughts occurred to me as I listened to her.

    1. Loving your existing neighbours might mean supporting restrictions in order to safeguard your existing neighbours’ access to jobs, housing, schools and medical facilities.

    2. The girl in question ignored the two important words ‘as yourself”. You are to love your neighbour as well as yourself, not instead of yourself. There’s a difference.

    • Anton

      She’s ignoring the difference between instructions to individuals and the appropriate political response. And even regarding the latter, there is the question of the social contract with past generations. We hear a lot about the social contract with future ones today, but what about the past? Would our fathers have made the sacrifices they did in two world wars, and saving money for us rather than spending it on themselves, if they’d thought that we would give the country away to people who hate us?

    • Ivan M

      That Muslim person could well have been Linus-Findrato in drag.

  • Martin

    We are called to identify who is a real Christian in order to appoint only those to membership and leadership of our local churches. I’d account neither of these two as suitable for even membership on what I know so far. I don’t need to be a pope to do that.

    • Anton

      Ditto with a potential spouse; but in the cases of congregational leadership and marriage one knows the individual personally. (Glad you too believe that elders should be chosen by the congregation by acclamation, rather than being parachuted in.) With a pontiff or president you don’t know them personally, only their public image.

      • Martin

        Anton

        Why would one have a pontiff? As to any politician, you can only judge on what you know and the opinions of those you trust.

        • Anton

          Better ask Catholics that!

          • Martin

            Anton

            I’d rather ask the Bible. 😉

  • Dreadnaught

    When is the penny going to drop? Modern Islam is initially benign when entering a host nation in small numbers. Third generation Muslims in the UK are totally a different entity than their forebears. The males are strong vigorous, randy and up for consuming the host through mob tribalism, ready for violence and in-yer-face sexual reproduction.
    Multiculturaism didn’t work in India hence Pakistan and they still can’t govern themselves in the country that broke India where it could have been todays China.
    Hindus, Sikhs, Bahai or whatever, give respect to the host culture without much problem – but I don’t know if anyone can say the same for ‘industrious’ hard working, taxpaying Muslims – Ha!
    Just heard on NW News an Imam has been murdered in Rochdale – unsurprisingly didn’t make the national news though. Mosques appealing for calm after one arrest.

    • Ivan M

      Why in the world would we want to be today’s China? If the Chinese want to work till they drop making trinkets, they are welcome to it. Your average Indian is full of nonsense about how if it were nor for Muslims, India would be in the stratosphere.

  • chrisH

    Catholics have long had a problem with knowing their bibles as a general rule-but this Pope seems to be as dim as the worst of those he`s supposed to be serving.
    He says Christians don`t build walls-2 Chronicles 14.7 says otherwise..and Judaism is the Christians big brother, so I see it as pertinent…and , given how big the Vaticans walls are…so does he!
    He also says that Christians build bridges-well if you check Crudens or even the NIV, I see no mention of bridges-let alone any role for me to build them.
    So the Pontoon is wrong on both counts thus.
    And-for a border busting do-gooding shill for Mexicans and Muslims(depending which side of the Atlantic he is talking out of), he needs to read Acts 17.26…God seems to have a view on borders and their sanctity…
    So , thus far, old Jiorgio is just another superannuated Guardian Reader and BBC suckup who would rather please the bien-pensant worldy deceived empty vessels of THIS world-than serve and lead his “flock”…i`ll not give the verses-let his do a bit of reading…clues are that places that Paul wrote to that began with C might help him.
    Until he says sorry…then i`m boycotting the catholics until their so-called leader acquaints himself with SOME bits of that Book he`s supposed to know.
    AND-as Ann Coulter says…”both Pope and Trump are multimedia global players-but only one of the two bosses cited covers up for paedophiles in Boston and other places worldwide”…the other though gets judged by the Nonce CEO!
    Still-eh-as long as he gets to visit an open mosque next month and the NYT are there to do selfies…he`s happy.
    Believe they do open throat days on Libyan beaches involving Christians as well-but that`s so far away from Rome as not to matter…and Islam has no designs on Rome does it?
    Why would they?

  • Dreadnaught
    • Anton

      I don’t think that the wall is uniformly along the border; St Peter’s Square is open to Rome yet part of Vatican City.

      • Dreadnaught

        If the UK was part of the terrestrial European landmass I would argue for a half mile wide mine field never mind a wall.

      • Uncle Brian

        Nobody has ever been asked to show a passport, I think, to cross the border from Italy into the Vatican State. Do they get floods of refugees pouring in? I don’t think so. It probably has something to do with no unemployment benefits being on offer there.

        • Anton

          Only place I’ve seen a Latin language option on a cashpoint/ATM !

  • chiefofsinners

    Voting for Trump is the only way the ordinary American has of hitting back at the arrogance of the establishment and the disdain with which it treats the electorate. The more extreme Trump’s pronouncements and the more horrified the establishment’s reaction, the more people want to vote for him. The disenfranchisement of the electorate will come home to roost in the UK too, very likely in the EU referendum. The support of the establishment for the EU is a powerful bonus for the leave campaign. In the meantime let us thank God that He has given us 20 miles of water, saving the vast expense of building a wall.

    • carl jacobs

      Trump is an idiot. One does not effectively strike back against the establishment by shooting oneself in the head.

      • chiefofsinners

        Millions of people are stupid, reactionary, easily roused and willing to shoot first and ask questions later. They will vote for the idiots. Politicians depend on it and encourage it. They play with fire.

        • sarky

          And they are known as ‘americans’.

          • chiefofsinners

            We have plenty of our own good old fashioned British idiots. The rise of Jeremy Corbyn mirrors that of Donald Trump.

          • sarky

            Except that there is more chance of us winning eurovision than there is of corbyn becoming prime minister.

          • chiefofsinners

            It does seem to be time for Makin’ Your Mind Up.

          • sarky

            Well there was a thing on the news about Corby. Eurosceptic mps sent out 100,000 ballots and of the 14,000 returned 81% voted to leave the eu.
            As I’m yet to meet anyone wanting to stay in, I would say that’s probs about right (I ignore the official polls showing it as neck and neck as the cynic in me thinks it’s a bit political as the truth is unpalatable)

          • chiefofsinners

            The other night on Question Time Dimbleby kept asking the audience for someone who was in favour of remaining in the EU. Leave campaigners kept putting their hands up and getting more airtime for their views. Hilarious. There didn’t seem to be anyone pro-remain in the building.

  • “Regarding Walls and Popes, it would indeed be most interesting to know what Pope Bergoglio thinks of the famous Leonine Walls, erected by his predecessor Pope St. Leo IV in 847 to defend Rome and the Pope’s residence from the Saracens, the Muslims of that time. Was Pope Leo, sainted and responsible of many a miracle during his lifetime, not ‘a good Christian?'”

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2016/02/prof-radaelli-was-wall-builder-pope-leo.html

    • Anton

      Indeed; that was the year after this raid:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_raid_against_Rome

      More important were the Theodosian walls that kept Byzantium safe from the same foe for centuries.

    • chiefofsinners

      As you have said before, good fences make good neighbours.

  • chiefofsinners

    Is this the same pope who got stroppy when jostled by Mexicans overstepping the boundaries on his walkabout?

    • sarky

      They should have built a wall to keep them back 😉

      • Cressida de Nova

        LOL

  • Anton

    All in all…

    • Pubcrawler

      Did it have to be so…high?

  • chiefofsinners

    Never mind whether the Pope is a Catholic, is David Cameron a Conservative? He’s built so many bridges, gates and tunnels that there are no walls left.

  • Hugh Jeego

    “And so we are left with a papal decree that Donald Trump is not a Christian, which isn’t going to go down well in certain southern states where a presidential candidate’s Christian credentials are a matter of political salvation or damnation.”

    I think condemnation by a pope would cause a good many southerners to view Trump more highly. Got to love those popes, decreeing who is a Christian and who isn’t. It’s almost like it’s 1516 again.

  • prompteetsincere

    While ‘Pope Trump’ disavows knowing who is a Christian, in the service of mammon he continues to corner the communications market as to who is ‘the father of lies’.