A border wall with Mexico is the result of our craziness stemming from an irrational fear of migrants, according to Pope Francis.
Speaking with reporters aboard the papal plane while en route to Panama, the Holy Father was asked about Trump’s proposed border wall, the funding for which has prompted the longest government shutdown in history.
“It is the fear that makes us crazy,” Pope Francis said, reports Reuters, after reportedly calling the border wall a “folly.”
The Roman Pontiff’s comments come on the same day that President Trump declared that a new theme of the Republican Party will be building the wall to lower crime. Trump tweeted on Wednesday: “BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL! This is the new theme, for two years until the Wall is finished (under construction now), of the Republican Party. Use it and pray!”
Pope Francis has been an outspoken critic of Donald Trump’s stance on immigration since he first announced his candidacy. During the 2016 campaign, Francis famously showed more hostility to the candidate promising a pro-life/pro-religious agenda than he did to the pro-abortion Hillary Clinton. At one point, the Pope suggested that President Trump is not even Christian for seeking to build walls.
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel,” said Pope Francis of President Trump’s policies.
The Pope never described Hillary Clinton in such a way, even as she had a representative of NARAL brag about her abortion at the DNC. When asked about how people should vote in the election, the Pope said they should “vote their conscience” and not pro-life.
This past November, as the migrant caravan from Honduras made its way toward the U.S. Southern border just in time for the midterm elections, Pope Francis showed support for migrants and even expressed appreciation for their need to “pile up.”
Another phenomenon of migrants – let’s think of the caravan that goes from Honduras to the United States – is to pile up . The migrant usually tries to go in groups. Sometimes it has to go alone, but it is normal to pile up, because we feel stronger in migration. And there is the community. In football there is the possibility of a ‘free agent,’ that can move according to the opportunities, but from you there is no possibility, the ‘free agent’ from you fail. Always the community. Always in the community, because your vocation is precisely for migrants who pile up. Feel migrants. Feel, yes, migrants facing needs, migrants before the Lord, migrants among you. And for this the need to pile up.
In the same speech, Pope Francis focused on how nations need to foster the virtue of welcoming strangers or risk their own demise.
“It’s easier to welcome a stranger than to be welcomed, and you have to do both,” said Pope Francis. “You must teach, help welcome the stranger, and give all the possibilities to the nations that have everything or enough to use these four words that you have said. How to welcome a foreigner.”
Such a policy, Pope Francis says, is a social good because migrants “build a country.”