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Pope Francis says Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ migrant policy is “immoral”

“I am on the side of the bishops’ conference,” the pope said, referring to statements made by U.S. bishops earlier this month.

Pope Francis meeting U.S. President Donald Trump during a private audience at the Vatican on May 24, 2007. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Vatican City, Jun 20, 2018 / 06:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a new interview with Reuters, Pope Francis backed the U.S. bishops’ opposition to the separation of migrant children from their parents at the Mexican border, calling the move “immoral” and “contrary to Catholic values.”

“I am on the side of the bishops’ conference,” the pope said, referring to statements made by U.S. bishops earlier this month.

Francis’ comment was made in reference to the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration, which was rolled out in May and, among other things, enforces the separation of children from parents who have been detained by border officials.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, issued a statement at during their bi-annual meeting in Houston last week criticizing the enforcement of separating migrant families at the Mexican border, saying “separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.”

He said later the bishops would consider the possibility of sending a delegation to the U.S.-Mexico border to see the detention centers for themselves and offer solidarity for incoming migrants and refugees.

“Let it be clear that in these things, I respect [the position of] the bishops conference,” Pope Francis said in the interview with Reuters.

When migrants arrive to a country, “you have to receive them, help them, look after them, accompany them and then see where to put them, but throughout all of Europe,” he said, noting that “some governments are working on it, and people have to be settled in the best possible way, but creating psychosis is not the cure.”

No full text of the interview was available, however, the pope also touched on a variety of other issues, including the possibility of a deal with China on the appointment of bishops, the sexual abuse scandal in Chile, the reform of the Roman Curia and the criticism he’s faced.

The conversation with Reuters marks the the pope’s first on-the-record interview a major American news outlet.

During the 2-hour conversation, which took place in his residence at the Vatican’s Saint Marta guesthouse Sunday, Francis said the ongoing reform of the Vatican’s structures is going well, “but we have more work.”

In the latest reform move, the pope’s Council of Cardinals in their meeting earlier this month finished the first draft of a new apostolic constitution outlining the role and structure of the Roman Curia titled “Predicatae Evangelium.”

Francis voiced satisfaction at the status of the Vatican’s financial reform, saying the Vatican bank, which in the past lacked proper oversight and has now flagged and closed several suspicious accounts and transactions, “works well.”

Referring to criticism he has received throughout his papacy, the pope said he prays for those who have said “nasty things” about him.

Referring to the “dubia” letter sent to him by four cardinals, including American Cardinal Leo Raymond Burke, challenging him on excerpts of Chapter 8 of his 2016 post-synodal apostolic exhortation  on the family, “Amoris Laetitia,” the pope said he found out about the letter “from the newspaper.”

This, he said, is “a way of doing things that is, let’s say, not ecclesial, but we all make mistakes.” Using the analogy of a river, he said “we have to be respectful and tolerant, and if someone is in the river, let’s move forward.”

On the Chilean abuse scandal, Pope Francis, who has already accepted the resignation of three bishops, including that of Juan Barros Madrid from the Diocese of Osorno, said he could accept more in the future.

He also voiced optimism about the Vatican’s ongoing discussion with China on the appointment of bishops, saying the discussions are “at a good point.”

Though he has been criticized for engaging China’s communist party for a deal which would give them a say on bishop appointments, Francis said “dialogue is a risk, but I prefer risk rather than the certain defeat that comes with not holding dialogue.”

“As for the timing, some people say it’s ‘Chinese time.’ I say it’s God’s time. Let’s move forward serenely.”

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7 Comments

  1. There are many who have said and are saying increasingly today in public that Francis is the one who is immoral in his undermining of Catholic morality and dogma.

  2. Committing mortal sins, violating federal law and contradicting the actual teaching of the Church is immoral.

    “Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.” Paragraph 2, Section 2241, Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  3. Hopefully, President Trump also has a “zero tolerance” policy regarding moral advice from Bergoglio.

  4. He can’t run the Church, nor can his “yes men” in our country, but he can make immigration policy for the United States? I think not. He can’t figure out who to appoint as a cardinal — ala Bishop Ticona. Stick to your competency — whatever that may be.
    He hails from a corrupt criminal culture. He is normalized in it. The logical conclusion of his delusion is that all the problem spots in the world need to migrate to functional societies.
    That make great sense?
    No. Adults in failing societies are required to risk their existence to make “home” a better place for themselves and their children. That’s life. It hurts. But that is reality — reality appears something quite foreign to an episcopate and its leader who find themselves accountable to no one and no God — at least the One of the Judeo-Christian revelation. What can be found of the transcendent in Darwin, Marx and Freud won’t do.
    Long pastime to climb out of the secular materialist playpen.

  5. He is a glutton for media coverage and he knew a snipe on this in particular would get him printed galore. He seems to snipe at Trump when an ocean separates them but not in person. This is why I question that he was a bouncer. He does bounce scriptures though like having the 5th commandment condemn the death penalty when the same God issued multiple death penalties in the same Deuteronomy as contains the fifth commandment.

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