Pope Francis Suggests Donald Trump is Not a Christian

trump-francis

Inserting himself into the Republican presidential race, Pope Francis on Wednesday suggested that Donald J. Trump “is not Christian” because of the harshness of his campaign promises to deport more immigrants and force Mexico to pay for a wall along the border.

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” Francis said when a reporter asked him about Mr. Trump on the papal airliner as he returned to Rome after his six-day visit to Mexico.

The pope’s remarks came during a wide-ranging, midair news conference in which he also waded into the question of whether the Roman Catholic Church should grant an exception to its prohibitions on abortion and birth control in regions where the Zika virus is causing a public health emergency, including in much of Catholic-dominated Latin America.

Researchers say pregnant women are especially at risk, noting that the virus may be responsible for a spike in cases of microcephaly, a condition in which newborns have unusually small heads and brains.

In answering the question, Francis made a distinction between abortion and birth control. He flatly ruled out condoning abortion, which he described as “a crime, an absolute evil.” But he seemed more open to making an exception for contraception, citing Pope Paul VI’s decision in the 1960s to make an emergency exception and permit nuns in the Belgian Congo to use contraceptives because they were in danger of rape.

“Avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil,” Francis said. “In certain cases, as in this one, as in that one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear. I would also urge doctors to do their utmost to find vaccines against these mosquitoes that carry this disease.”

Francis’ comments on Mr. Trump and the possibility of using contraceptives to prevent the spread of the Zika virus are certain to garner strong reactions. On Thursday, the World Health Organization advised the sexual partners of pregnant women to use condoms or abstain from sex if they live in Zika-affected areas or are returning from them.

The church has long opposed the use of artificial contraceptives, a ban reaffirmed by Paul VI in his 1968 papal encyclical, Humanae Vitae. Many Catholics across Latin America and elsewhere ignore the edict, however.

Francis made his remarks about Mr. Trump barely three hours after he had concluded his Mexico trip by presiding over a huge Mass in the border city of Ciudad Juárez. He first walked to the edge of the Rio Grande — as American security officers watched from the other side — to lay flowers at a new memorial commemorating those who have died trying to cross the border.

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SOURCE: JIM YARDLEY 
The New York Times