On Trump presidency, Pope says we must ‘wait and see’
In a new interview published Saturday, Pope Francis said he will wait to see what U.S. President Donald J. Trump does before making any judgments, emphasizing God’s own patience with him and his faults.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais Jan. 20, the same day as the U.S. presidential inauguration, Pope Francis said he doesn’t like to get ahead of himself “or judge people prematurely.”
“We will see how he acts, what he does, and then I will have an opinion. But being afraid or rejoicing beforehand because of something that might happen is, in my view, quite unwise. It would be like prophets predicting calamities or windfalls that will not be either,” he said.
“We will see. We will see what he does and will judge.” The world is so upside down, that it needs a fixed point, grounded firmly in reality: “what did you do, what did you decide, how do you move. That is what I prefer to wait and see.”
Asked if he wasn’t worried about things he had heard about Trump, Francis responded again that he is waiting. “God waited so long for me, with all my sins…” he said.
In the wide-ranging interview, the Pope was questioned about issues ranging from immigration to economics to Vatican diplomacy to the Gospel, among other things.
On the issue of immigration Francis was clear about his position, that “everyone does what they can or what they want. It is a very hard judgment.”
The most important thing is that those in dire need are helped and rescued, he said. After that we should welcome migrants and refugees and help them to integrate into their new country.
In the context of 1930s Germany, where the people were “in crisis” and looking for a charismatic leader, someone who could give them a clear identity, “we all know what happened,” he said. But what is important is that people did not talk to one another, there was no conversation.
“Yes,” borders can be controlled, he said. Countries have a right to control “who comes and who goes, and those countries at risk – from terrorism or such things – have even the right to control them more, but no country has the right to deprive its citizens of the possibility to talk with their neighbors.”
For him, he said, the clear, guiding principle for both pastoral action and Vatican diplomacy is that they are “mediators, rather than intermediaries.”
“We build bridges, not walls. What is the difference between a mediator and an intermediary?” he said. An intermediary is someone who enters a business agreement, renders a service and then is compensated, “and rightly so, because it is his job.”
The mediator, on the other hand, “is the one who wants to serve both parties and wants both parties to win even if he loses,” the Pope said. “Vatican diplomacy must be a mediator, not an intermediary. If, throughout history, it has sometimes maneuvered or managed a meeting that filled its pockets, that was a very serious sin.”
“The mediator builds bridges that are not for him, but rather for others to cross.”