Pope Francis didn’t look too happy to see Donald Trump this morning. For that matter, if you look at the old pictures, he wasn’t too happy to meet Barack Obama either.
It must be tough for him. He’s spent his whole life as an outsider and is constantly the voice of the voiceless, the marginalized, the poor, the refugee and the excluded. Now as Head of State he has to have these formal meetings, exchange of gifts, then smile (or not) for the camera.
I’d hate it.
I think he’d do much better if he let the Vatican Secretary of State take care of these formal necessities, and if some president, prince or potentate wants to meet him, let him meet the Holy Father for breakfast in the St Martha hostel cafeteria, or better yet, let the Holy Father take the big shot to do an afternoon’s work in the local homeless shelter in Rome.
As it stands, these traditional meetings are all hyped up, but in fact the meeting only lasted twenty minutes. They smile. They shake hands. They smile some more. Everybody takes more pictures. They exchange gifts. That’s it. Back to business.
One remembers the day when a good, strong pope and a good, strong president–both having survived assassination attempts– got together with a sense of mission (and Divine purpose) to overcome a great evil in the world: communism.
This is what would unite a President and a Pope: the shared vision to overcome a great evil and a mutual threat.
It’s not like there are not a good number of great evils to overcome. What if they were to work together to overcome human trafficking, Islamic extremism, rampant and aggressive capitalism or rampant and aggressive socialism? What if they worked together to support all the small groups who are doing so much at the local level to overcome great evils in the world?
What united JPII and RR was a shared purpose and a clear enemy.
My own view (and I’m happy to be corrected if I’m wrong) is that this Pope is too limited by what seems to be his cultural dislike of America, while this President is too limited by his own personal inadequacies to even understand the problems, much less do anything about them.
And who’s to blame for that?
We elected the guy.
Anyway–put my wisecracks aside and make up our own mind. You can view a video of the meeting here