Was the Donald Trump-Pope Francis Meeting a “Detente” or an “Armistice?”

Pope

Over at Sight, Villanova University theology professor Massimo Faggioli argues it was more of a “detente” than an “armistice.”

Here is a taste:

No matter what their theological inclinations are, Donald Trump’s supporters should be happy with the modern reforms in the Vatican: until a few decades ago a pope would have never received in an audience a twice-divorced, thrice married head of state accompanied by a daughter who converted to Judaism.

Fortunately, this was not a problem for the Trump family accompanying the President in his state visit this week.

The only real news, in fact, was that the passage of the American president through the Vatican was fairly speedy and remarkably uneventful.

This does not mean that nothing of importance happened; on the contrary.

During Trump’s long international trip, the first of his turbulent presidency, the Vatican was the least challenging stop from a strictly diplomatic point of view: but compared to Saudi Arabia and Israel, the first two stops on this “inter-religious trip,” the Vatican was also the most “distant atmosphere,” politically speaking.

What divides Trump from Francis politically does not divide Trump from Saudi King Salman or from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The tension around the meeting with Francis, as opposed to the natural political affinity with the Saudis and Israeli leaders, is more evidence that the President’s pilgrimage was not really about religion.

Instead, it was about figuring out how to use religion for the political purposes of the administration (fighting terrorism, and fueling the anti-Iran complex) without fundamentally changing the narrative of this administration about religion. And that, despite his speech in Riyadh, still centers on an anti-Muslim worldview.

In some sense, the religion of Trumpism is the presidential bending to the politics of white evangelicalism, whose theological substance in America today is in danger of being reduced to the prosperity Gospel.

Read the rest here.