Bridge (Pope Francis) reaches out to the Wall (Prez Trump)
The Pope and the President could yet be friends!
US President Donald Trump’s inauguration on 20 January, 2017, was more like a Sunday church service, with Jesus in, around, and all over the place. It is significant to note that of the many spiritual leaders called to read a Scriptural passage as prayer for the nation, the first one invited center-stage was a Cardinal of the Catholic Church, Timothy Dolan, to start the proceedings on the spiritual note.
In fact, long before the elections, on October 20, 2016, Trump and Timothy had already hit it off during the 71st annual Alfred E.Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner. Even though the Cardinal was very cordial to Hilary Clinton, who was also present (for the fun debate between the two), he seated himself near Trump for the dinner, and they got along like two houses on one fire!
At the inauguration, the Cardinal stepped forth with the royal regality that is so typical of Catholic prelates, as he recited King Solomon’s prayer from the Book of Wisdom. This book will be found in the NLTCE (Protestants consider it to be non-canonical so it is not in their Bibles). Cardinal Dolan read, with great aplomb:
“God of our ancestors and Lord of mercy, you have made all things. And in your providence have charged us to rule the creatures produced by you, to govern the world in holiness and righteousness, and to render judgment with integrity of heart. Give us wisdom, for we are your servants, weak and short-lived, lacking in comprehension of judgment and of laws. Indeed, though one might be perfect among mortals, if wisdom which comes from you be lacking, we count for nothing. Now with you is wisdom, who knows your will and was there when you made the world, who understands what is pleasing in your eyes, what is conformable with your commands, send her forth from your holy heavens. From your glorious throne, dispatch her that she may be with us and work with us, that we may grasp what is pleasing to you. For she knows and understands all things and will guide us prudently in our affairs and safeguard us by her glory.”
In Rome, every eye in the Vatican glued to the television screen as the Presidential inauguration took place. All were aware of the simmering undercurrents between the two world leaders as Trump insisted he would go ahead with his construction to wall off Mexico, and the Pope reminded him through the media that Christians are supposed to be bridges, not walls.
After Trump’s inauguration, the Holy Father sent a message to Donald Trump, which included the following:
- Upon your inauguration as the forty-fifth President of the United States of America, I offer you my cordial good wishes and the assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will grant you wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high office.
- At a time when our human family is beset by grave humanitarian crises demanding far-sighted and united political responses, I pray that your decisions will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people and your nation’s commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide.
- Under your leadership, may America’s stature continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door.
- With these sentiments, I ask the Lord to grant you and your family, and all the beloved American people, his blessings of peace, concord and every material and spiritual prosperity.
And all the people of God say…