We need to see Pope Francis’s criticisms of Donald Trump, as well as America’s immigration and economic policy, in context.
No moment of the pope’s visit to Mexico in February was more powerful and symbolic than his trip to the American border.
Soon the pope descended to give the first-ever Catholic mass that straddled the border between two countries. About 200,000 people watched from the Mexican side of the border, and around 50,000 from the U.S.
The global media loved it. “Pope Francis is the pope of mercy, he is the pope of the poor, he is the pope that visits inmates, he is the pope who wants to be where there is pain, and this is exactly where we find him now,” gushed cnn correspondent Rosa Flores.
“This is the culmination of Pope Francis’s trip,” Flores said. “The border is very near and dear to his heart, as we learned from the Vatican. And so this is a very emotional moment for the pope. … Probably the most powerful moment of Pope Francis’s visit, we just witnessed, and that was him praying, having a moment of silence, in a place where so many have perished, where so many have died, in his words, ‘trying to reach a dream, trying to achieve a dream across the border.’”
This visit provided the most iconic visual from his trip. It was also overtly political, directly aimed at influencing American politics.
The United States is in the process of choosing its next president. Immigration is right at the heart of that debate.
If there was any doubt that the pope wanted to affect America’s coming election by praying with immigrants on the U.S.-Mexico border, he put it to rest on his trip home. During his flight, a journalist brought up comments by presidential candidate Donald Trump about immigration. “He has said that if elected, he would build a 2,500-kilometer-long wall along the border. He wants to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, thus separating families, etc.,” said the journalist. He wondered “if an American Catholic can vote for someone like this” (emphasis mine throughout).
The pope replied, “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,” the pope continued. “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 has said things like that.”
But this kind of intervention by the pope shouldn’t surprise anyone. It is not unusual. Back in Argentina before he became pope, he often supported or opposed political causes. And political “meddling”—to use the pope’s term—is hardly exclusive to Francis. The Vatican often meddles in European political matters. It is heavily involved in Italian politics, for example, even helping certain lawmakers decide how to vote.
Politics is a fundamental part of the role the Catholic Church believes it must play in the world.
No Church-State Separation
Separation of church and state is widely cherished in America, but the Catholic Church does not believe in it.
In 1864, Pope Pius ix officially set out the Catholic Church’s response to liberal democracy in his “Syllabus of Errors.” He declared the following statements wrong and heretical:
The church ought to be separated from the state, and the state from the church.
In the present day, it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the state, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship.
Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.
The church has not the power of using force, nor has [it] any temporal power, direct or indirect.
Catholics may approve of the system of educating youth unconnected with the Catholic faith and the power of the church.
The pope called these statements heresy! According to this official Catholic teaching, the church should play a role in politics. Further, Catholicism should be the only official state religion—even the only allowed religion. The church can even use force to make this happen!
But this is not just the teaching of a papal document from 1864—this is the way the Catholic Church has operated for nearly 2,000 years! It has a long history of imposing itself on people, even through force!
Later, the Vatican ii Council did say that people of other faiths should be allowed religious freedom. But Pope Pius’s statements are official pronouncements on morals and doctrines from the pope and are thus, according to Catholic doctrine, infallible. The pronouncements of Vatican ii are also regarded by many Catholics as infallible. Catholic scholars can “sort out” these contradictory statements, but the church’s history speaks for itself.
The real question is, what does the pope want to accomplish with this meddling? Will it be good for America?
People may disagree about the answer to that last question. But if you look objectively at the statements and actions of the pope, you can clearly see their real intent.
A Double Standard
“Is a border now un-Christian?” asked Silvio Canto Jr., himself a Catholic, for American Thinker. “How did we get to the point that defending borders and promoting legal immigration is now inhumane?” (February 19).
In Europe, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, chairman of the German bishops’ conference, said in February, “As a church, we say that we need a reduction in the number of refugees.” But when it comes to America, keeping migrants out is “un-Christian.”
Did the pope say this simply because he loves migrants? Contrast his statements against Donald Trump with the way he has treated other world leaders.
“El Papa just visited Cuba,” Canto continued. “He hugged and embraced Raúl Castro, a man who has executed priests, harassed religious leaders, and closed Christian schools years ago. Did he call the Castro brothers un-Christian?”
When the pope visited Cuba in 2015, he “refrained from issuing even coded criticism of the Communist government,” as the Telegraph put it (Sept. 20, 2015). The Patriotic Union of Cuba, a pro-democracy group, complained, “The pope did not utter a phrase of solidarity with the victims of repression and, when traveling from Cuba to the United States, told the press that he did not know about the detention of pacifist dissidents” (Sept. 23, 2015).
To use the pope’s own words, this is not in the gospel.
The Castro brothers aren’t the only authoritarian leaders the pope has refrained from criticizing. “One relationship Francis has patiently cultivated is with Putin,” wrote Foreign Affairs (Sept. 25, 2015). Italy’s L’Espresso magazine wrote that “Francis has always done all he could not to annoy the patriarchate of Moscow and the imperial politics of Vladimir Putin, even at the cost of sowing the strongest disappointment among the bishops, clergy and faithful of the Catholic Church in the region” (February 12).
A Woman in Prophecy
Revelation 17 describes a striking spectacle: a woman “with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication” (verse 2).
Key portions of the Bible are written in symbol. The Bible is full of passages where God uses a physical object to portray a spiritual truth or concept. For example, Jesus Christ called Himself the bread of life; the Holy Spirit is symbolized by water; angels are referred to as stars; and so on.
In biblical symbolism, a woman is a type of a church. You can see this in passages like Ephesians 5, which pictures the relationship between Christ and His true Church as being like that between a husband and wife. Revelation 12 describes this same Church as a woman who was forced to flee into the wilderness for 1,260 days—picturing a 1,260-year period when the Church that Christ founded had to go into hiding to escape persecution. Later in this chapter, that Church is described as being supernaturally protected from a satanic attack in the very end time.
The woman in Revelation 17 is not the true Church of God, which is described as being a radiant woman in white linen (e.g. Revelation 12:1; 19:7-8). This woman is a “great whore … arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication,” and “drunken with the blood of the saints” (Revelation 17:1, 4, 6). This pictures a great and mighty false church.
An Attack on America
When this biblical truth is viewed alongside Pope Francis’s recent activities and statements, it becomes clear why this should deeply concern us all. But most people are asleep to the danger.
Fifty or 60 years ago, no pope would have dared say some of the things this pope has said. Intervening in America’s political system would have provoked a major backlash. Today, it has stirred little more than amused talk about Donald Trump versus the pope.
Other biblical prophecies reveal that the United States is in grave danger! Believe it or not, Satan the devil is unleashing a multipronged attack on what has until recently been the most powerful single nation in history. He is working within the population by encouraging sin and perversion. He is turning factions within our people against one another, stirring hatred and violence that are tearing us apart. He is working from within the nation through leaders that are destroying America’s values and embracing lawlessness and corruption. At the same time, he is fomenting hatred among America’s enemies, empowering them to aggressively work against the nation’s interests.
Through all of these means, the devil is working to cripple this once-great nation and bring it to its knees.
And when the time is right, he will inspire a new global superpower to deliver the knockout blow!
“If you look at the whole story in biblical prophecy, you see that Satan has a three-pronged attack,” I wrote in my free booklet America Under Attack. “First, he attacks God’s Church. Second, he tears down the values within the nations of Israel. Finally, he will bring the Holy Roman Empire to destroy those nations in the Great Tribulation. That is Satan’s master plan for destroying spiritual and physical Israel!”
The pope is making an extremely dangerous foray into American politics. Bible prophecy shows us how dangerous this institution is. When it makes a power play like this, we must sit up and pay attention, and recognize the seriousness of the times! ▪
Full article: Why Is the Pope Meddling in American Politics? (The Trumpet)