by Elise Harris
When asked in a new interview what he thinks of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump, Pope Francis said he doesn’t judge politicians, but noted that main concern is for migrants and refugees.
“I don’t make judgments on people and on political men, I only want to understand what the sufferings are that their way of proceeding causes to the poor and excluded,” the Pope told Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari in an interview published Nov. 11
Scalfari, 92 and an atheist, is the founder of Italy’s leftist paper “La Repubblica,” and has spoken to the Pope on several occasions, however, he doesn’t not record his conversations with the Pope, and the Vatican has on numerous occasions had to issue statements urging readers to be cautious of things Sclafari has written.
According to Scalfari, he met with the Pope the day before the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election that climaxed with the nomination of Republican Donald Trump as the next president-elect.
While Francis was clear that he doesn’t judge politicians, he said his primary concern given the current global climate is “that of refugees and of migrants.”
“A small part of them are Christians, but this doesn’t change the situation for what regards their suffering and their hardship,” he said. “The causes are many and we’re doing what is possible to remove them.”
However, the Pope said that many times the measures proposed are then opposed by people who fear losing their jobs or having their salaries lowered.
“Money is against the poor besides being against immigrants and refugees,” he said, but noted that “there are also the poor from rich countries who fear welcoming those who are similar coming from poor countries. It’s a perverse circle and it must be interrupted.”
Francis stressed that we must “bring down the walls of division,” but cautioned that in order to do this, we must “build bridges” that seek to decrease inequalities and increase “freedom and rights.”
Scalfari then referred to a previous conversation in which the Pope had allegedly suggested that the saying one must “love your neighbor as yourself” be modified to “more than yourself.”
The journalist insinuated that this comment must mean the Pope prefers a society “dominated by equality,” which is the same program adopted by Marxist socialism and communism.
When asked by Scalfari if he thinks “of a type of Marxist society,” Pope Francis, who has repeatedly referred to the Gospel when accused of being communist, responded that if anything, “it’s the communists who think like Christians.”
“Christ spoke of a society where the poor, weak, excluded, have the right to decide. Not the demagogues, not Barabbas, but the people, the poor, who have faith in the transcendent God or not, it is they who must be helped to achieve equality and liberty,” he said.
The two then shifted their discussion to Francis’ Nov. 5 encounter with representatives of popular movements, which he closed with a lengthy, wide-ranging 6-page speech in which he quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Francis said he quoted King “because I admire him.”
On the uniqueness of his pontificate and the “adversaries” he has in the Church opposing his reforms, the Pope said he wouldn’t use the word adversary because “faith unites us all.”
“Naturally each one of us individuals sees the same things in a different way; the framework is objectively the same, but is subjectively different,” he said.