International News

Pope, Bishops Ask Trump To Care for Immigrants

By Cindy Wooden

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with President-elect Donald Trump during a Nov. 10 meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. Photo © Catholic News Service/ Kevin Lamarque, Reuters

ROME (CNS) – The day before Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, Pope Francis said he would make no judgments about the candidate and was interested only in the impact his policies would have on the poor.

Eugenio Scalfari, co-founder and former editor of La Repubblica, an Italian daily, said he met with Pope Francis Nov. 7 and asked him what he thought of Trump.

“I don’t give judgments about persons and politicians; I only want to understand what sufferings their way of proceeding will cause the poor and excluded,” the pope said, according to Scalfari.

The journalist has explained on more than one occasion that he does not take notes or record his conversations with the pope; he re-creates them afterward from memory, including the material he puts in quotation marks.

Scalfari, in an article published Nov. 11, said Pope Francis said his greatest concern today is for refugees and immigrants.

“Only a small portion of them are Christian, but that does not change the situation in terms of their suffering and neediness,” the pope said. “The causes are many,” and Christians must do what they can to solve the underlying problems forcing so many to flee.

Unfortunately, Pope Francis said, too many times the measures adopted in the face of migration are those taken by “populations that fear seeing their jobs taken away and their salaries reduced.”

In Baltimore at the fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, similar sentiments were expressed.

In a letter read Nov. 14, the chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration, Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo of Seattle, called on President-elect Donald Trump “to continue to protect the inherent dignity of refugees and migrants.”

In a television interview Nov. 13, President-elect Trump said he is looking at a plan to deport two to three million people whom he described as “criminal and have criminal records” and entered the country without permission.

A day later, the U.S. bishops affirmed Bishop Elizondo’s letter encouraging efforts “to work together to promote the common good, especially those to protect the most vulnerable among us.”

In the letter, first released late Nov. 11, Bishop Elizondo said he was praying for President-elect Trump, “all elected officials and those who will work in the new administration. I offer a special word to migrant and refugee families living in the United States: Be assured of our solidarity and continued accompaniment as you work for a better life.”