- Apr 13, 2021
Did President Donald Trump commit an act of heresy when he pledged “America first” in his inaugural address? Only if he meant that in a metaphysical, not a political, context, and given the setting and the man, it’s entirely clear it was the latter.
Five minutes talking to people in any bar or coffee shop in Rome, or anywhere with a semi-strong Catholic culture, is enough to suggest that the media frame of “Francis-lovers v. traditionalist wackos” doesn’t do justice to the reality of Catholic conversation in the Pope Francis era.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See under George W. Bush believes that Catholics should be really thankful that Donald Trump was elected, instead of Hillary Clinton, to be our next president of the United States. We faced a binary choice and the people of America showed once again that they are smarter than the pundits, beltway bandits and establishment insiders.
Though Catholic liberals aren’t cheering Donald Trump’s upset win on Tuesday night, they might hope for a consolation prize, which is that given the likely conflict zones with the new administration, the US bishops could increasingly prioritize what are typically seen as progressive causes.
A strong white evangelical, white Catholic and Mormon vote for Donald Trump belied the condemnation many religious leaders had leveled at the tycoon and paved the way for a stunning upset after a long and polarizing campaign.
Donald Trump’s stunning win was due to a basket of factors including a poor economy, and the anger of those who felt ‘left behind’. But front and center were the feelings of religious voters — and above all their fears of a Democrat candidate perceived as against them.
After a video of him standing behind an altar with an aborted baby in an effort to support Donald Trump, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life has come under fire, with one Catholic official in New York saying, “It is hard for me to express in calm, measured terms, the revulsion I feel about this.”
No matter who wins today, Trump or Clinton, observers forecast a potentially rocky relationship with the Vatican. The good news is that would be nothing new for Pope Francis, who’s got a lifetime of experience in dealing with difficult leaders.