Trump Will Abandon His Pro-Life Position If He Pulls Out Of The Paris Climate Agreement

Climate

Delegates of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference

Nathan Schneider writes for America and is a professor of media studies at the University of Colorado.  His piece “Trump’s war on the environment is a war on the young and the unborn” is on the mark.

Here is a taste:

I just put my 1-year-old to sleep. He went down easily. He doesn’t know it yet, and won’t understand it for years I suppose, but minutes before he fell asleep, White House sources revealed that President Trump intends to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. The man who will probably be my son’s first image of what a leader looks like has chosen a short-sighted, confused, greedy version of the present, or of past greatness, over the future of the planet that my son and his friends, and their children, will inherit.

There’s no sense anymore in bothering to cite the scientists’ numbers or to reproduce charts or to quote from “Laudato Si’,” Pope Francis’ encyclical that Mr. Trump received from its author’s hands just a week ago. The debate is over, and it has long since ceased to be a real debate. Even the former ExxonMobil chief executive officer who is Mr. Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, became the last, best hope that the president would opt to stick with the climate deal. Paris was never enough, but it was the one step that virtually every country on Earth could agree to start with. It stood for a rare, almost impossible hope that global consensus might be possible for a species otherwise embracing its own suicidal fragmentation.

“Suicide,” actually, isn’t the right word. My son isn’t choosing the planet he will be getting. The unborn children to come certainly aren’t. Nor are the vast majority of living, grown human beings. Mr. Trump’s fleshy shell will be rot and decomposure by the time the climate truly turns to chaos. This is war—the war of one generation on those that follow it, and we are led reluctantly into battle against our descendants by a despot determined to ignore the outcry of his scientists, his citizens and even his most oil-stained advisers. We need to call it what it is.

I don’t relish the prospect of war. I am one of those Catholics with serious reservations about our church’s “just war” teaching—about whether a war can ever be just. Our God is a Prince of Peace who bears no arms. But we need not affirm the justice of a war to recognize that it is happening. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines an act of war more stringently, I think, than many who claim the banner of just war theory admit. It says, “The damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain.” That’s a high bar, but Mr. Trump is roaring far above it. This is what we are up against. This is it.

When such damage is underway, we cannot stand by or claim refuge in our complaints as we grudgingly take part. “Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions,” the catechism continues. “One is morally bound to resist orders that command genocide.”

The command has gone out now: We are to proceed with the destruction of the planet, in the name of some imagined greatness of the past, to preserve the privileges of the most privileged country on Earth. We are to refuse coordination, cooperation, restraint and consensus. We are to deny our children, born and unborn, the planetary gift we received, from our parents and from our God. We cannot.

Read the rest here.

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.

“It’s likely the longest thing he’ll have read since taking office”

Pope

Mark Silk argues that Pope Francis “dissed” the President of the United States this week. And it is a pretty good argument.

Here is a taste of his piece at Religion News Service:

He squeezed Trump into an early morning slot so as not to have to cancel or delay his regular Wednesday general audience in St. Peter’s Square. And because of the gathering crowd, the President of the United States was ushered into the palace through a small side entrance used by Vatican employees.

It was hard not to think of Jesus’ famous mot about it being harder for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into the kingdom of heaven.

Then, during the meet-and-greet with the Trump entourage, Francis proceeded to make a fat joke at the President’s expense, asking his wife, “What do you give him to eat, potica?” A sweet Slovenian nut roll of which the pope is himself fond, potica is inarguably fattening.

Of the subsequent private meeting that followed with only a translator present, the communiqué issued by the Vatican indicates that discussion between the two men ranged from areas of presumed agreement (“life,” freedom of religion and conscience, peace and protection of Christian communities in the Middle East) to those of presumed disagreement (health care and assistance to immigrants).

Of climate change and whether Trump will pull the U.S. out of the 2015 Paris Agreement the communiqué makes no mention. But we may infer that Francis was sending a message by giving Trump a copy of his climate change encyclical, Laudato Si’.

Trump said he’ll be reading it. One can hope. At 180 pages, it’s likely the longest thing he’ll have read since taking office.

Read the entire piece.

Andrew Sullivan Pulls No Punches: “The Pope and the Pagan”

Pope

Andrew Sullivan has been one of the leading anti-Trump voices among the American punditry.  His recent piece at New York Magazine, “The Pope and the Pagan,” is scathing.

Here is a taste:

The contrast between a grim-faced pope and the grinning president at the Vatican this past week was not lost on the press or late-night TV. But they missed the mark, it seems to me. They noted merely that the two leaders profoundly disagree on, say, the dignity of immigrants, the sanctity of heterosexual marriage, or the urgency of tackling climate change. While these disagreements exist, they are, it seems to me, merely symptoms of a deeper chasm — the vast, empty, and dark space that lies between Donald Trump and anything resembling Christianity.

I don’t believe that there is a Christian politics as such — there is plenty of scope for disagreement about how to translate a Christian worldview into secular politics, or whether to translate it at all. But I do believe there is a Christian set of core human virtues and values, rooted in what we Catholics still think of as the truth, and that those virtues are rooted in the Gospels. We all fail the virtue test, of course, including yours truly, perhaps more than most. But Trump is a special case — because when you think about those virtues, it is very hard to see Donald Trump as anything but a living, breathing, shameless refutation of every single one.

Trump is not an atheist, confident yet humble in the search for a God-free morality. He is not an agnostic, genuinely doubtful as to the meaning of existence but always open to revelation should it arrive. He is not even a wayward Christian, as he sometimes claims to be, beset by doubt and failing to live up to ideals he nonetheless holds. The ideals he holds are, in fact, the antithesis of Christianity — and his life proves it. He is neither religious nor irreligious. He is pre-religious. He is a pagan. He makes much more sense as a character in Game of Thrones, a medieval world bereft of the legacy of Jesus of Nazareth, than as a president of a modern, Western country.

He loves the exercise of domination, where Christianity practices subservience. He thrills to the use of force, while Jesus preached nonviolence, even in the face of overwhelming coercion. He is tribal, where Jesus was resolutely universal. He is a serial fantasist, whereas Jesus came to reveal the Truth. He is proud, where Jesus was humble. He lives off the attention of the crowd, whereas Jesus fled the throngs that followed him. He is unimaginably wealthy, while Jesus preached the virtue of extreme poverty. He despises the weak, whom Jesus always sided with. He lies to gain an advantage, while Jesus told the truth and was executed for it. He loathes the “other,” when Jesus’ radical embrace of the outsider lay at the heart of his teaching. He campaigns on fear, which Jesus repeatedly told us to abandon. He clings to his privileged bubble, while Jesus walked the streets, with nothing to his name. His only true loyalty is to his family, while Jesus abandoned his. He believes in torture, while Jesus endured it silently. He sees women as objects of possession and abuse, while Jesus — at odds with his time and place — saw women as fully equal, indeed as the first witnesses to the Resurrection. He is in love with power, while Jesus — possessed of greater power, his followers believe, than any other human being — chose to surrender all of it. If Trump were to issue his own set of beatitudes, they would have to be something like this:

Blessed are the winners: for theirs is the kingdom of Earth.

Blessed are the healthy: for they will pay lower premiums.

Blessed are the rich: for they will inherit what’s left of the earth, tax-free.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for oil and coal: for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciless: for they are so, so strong.

Blessed are the liars: for they will get away with it.

Blessed are the war-makers: for they will be called very, very smart.

Blessed are those who support you regardless: for theirs is the Electoral College.

Blessed are you when others revile you and investigate you and utter all kinds of fake news about you. Rejoice and be glad, for the failing press is dying.

Read the entire piece here.

We are all sinners. We are all flawed.  But I am still in the camp of people who want my leaders to act with some degree of moral integrity in this broken world.  Anyone who thinks that morality is unimportant for a President is fooling themselves.  United States presidents must make moral statements and judgments all the time. It is part of the job description. Think about Trump condemning the terrorist attacks in Manchester or, God-forbid, having to comfort Americans experiencing the next major tragedy on American soil. Where does he find the resources to fulfill the moral responsibilities required of this office?

We want our presidents to do what is right for the country.  We will not always agree with our president about the nature of what is right, but we want him to articulate a moral vision that is rooted in something.  Perhaps it is religious faith.  Maybe it is moral philosophy or ethics.  Maybe it is something else.  But I am still of the belief that leaders must have a moral core that informs his or her trade deals, Supreme Court appointments, and the defenses of religious liberty.

Without character, Trump’s appeal to the court evangelicals looks like little more than political manipulation.

ADDENDUM:  As pointed out by many of you on Twitter, “moral integrity” is technically not part of the “job description” of the President of the United States.  Fair enough.  I should have chosen another word or phrase other than “job description.”  Heck, I am just glad people have read this far in the post and read carefully enough to notice this error! 🙂

Not Since the Kennedys

Melania

It appears that Catholicism has returned to the White House.

One of the things we learned during the Trump visit to the Vatican is that Melania Trump is Catholic.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports at The Washington Post. 

A taste:

After she met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday, first lady Melania Trump confirmed a little-known fact about her faith: She is Catholic. And she described the visit with the leader of the Catholic Church as “one I’ll never forget.”

While President Trump referenced his Presbyterian identity during the campaign, her faith did not come up. He and the first lady were married in 2005 in an Episcopal church in Palm Beach, Fla., where their son Barron Trump was later baptized.

The church’s rector performed a traditional Episcopal wedding service, according to the Palm Beach Daily News. “The bride walked down the aisle carrying only an ancient rosary, not to Lohengrin or Wagner, but to a vocalist singing Ave Maria in an exquisite soprano voice,” the local newspaper reported.

Her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham confirmed in an email that Melania Trump identifies as Catholic, but Grisham did not respond to questions about whether the first lady attends Mass regularly at a specific parish and whether the first family are current members of a church. The first lady, who became a U.S. citizen in 2006, grew up in what is today Slovenia, which has been heavily influenced by Catholicism.

During their visit to the Vatican on Wednesday, the pope blessed the first lady’s rosary beads, and the two had a lighthearted conversation about what she feeds her husband. She spent time in front of a statue of the Madonna at the Vatican’s children’s hospital and laid flowers at its feet.

Read the rest here.

 

Pope Francis Rips Business-Savvy Churches

d5108-pope_francis_korea_haemi_castle_19_2528cropped2529

On the day before Donald Trump arrived at the Vatican, Pope Francis told worshipers attending morning mass that “the evil spirit prefers a peaceful church, without risks, a business church, an easy church, in the comfort of warmth, lukewarm.”

Here is a report on the Pope’s homily at Catholic News Service:

God’s prophets always were persecuted because they created a disturbance, much like those today who denounce worldliness in the church and get ostracized, the pope said May 23 during a morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

However, “a church without martyrs gives rise to distrust; a church that takes no risks gives rise to distrust; a church that is afraid to proclaim Jesus Christ and cast out demons, idols and the other lord that is money is not the church of Jesus,” he said.

The pope’s homily looked at how Paul and Silas ended up in prison in Philippi after Paul cast a spirit out of a slave girl, and he and Silas were accused of disturbing the city and promoting unlawful customs.

The day’s first reading (Acts 16:22-34), the pope said, shows that after helping the possessed girl Paul understood that even though people in the city accepted Christ’s doctrine, their hearts had not been converted “because everything stayed quiet” and easy. “It was not Christ’s church,” he said.

The history of salvation is filled with similar stories, he said. Whenever the people of God were undisturbed, didn’t take risks or started serving, “I won’t say idols, but worldliness,” then God would send a prophet to shake things up.

“In the church when someone denounces many kinds of worldliness, he or she is given the stink eye, ‘This won’t do, better they be removed,'” he said.

The pope said he could recall “many, many men and women, good consecrated (religious), not ideological,” in Argentina who spoke out about what the church of Jesus was meant to be, but who would be accused of being communist and sent away and persecuted.

And “think of Blessed (Oscar) Romero, no? What happened for speaking the truth,” the pope said, referring to the Salvadoran archbishop who spoke out against poverty, injustice and disappearances, and was assassinated by a suspected death squad. The one-year anniversary of his beatification was May 23.

There are many men and women like this in the history of the church, the pope said, “because the evil spirit prefers a peaceful church, without risks, a business church, an easy church, in the comfort of warmth, lukewarm.”

“When the church is lukewarm, tranquil, everything organized, there are no problems, look where the deals are,” he said, because the devil always comes in “through the pocket.”

The path of daily conversion requires going from an easy, carefree life and “a religiosity that looks too much at earnings” to the joyous proclamation of Jesus Christ as the Lord.

This is how the Lord, “with his martyrs,” moves the church forward and gives it “renewed youth,” he said.

Court Evangelical Robert Jeffress: Pope Francis and Donald Trump are “BFFs”

He also describes how Donald Trump, during a meeting with evangelical leaders during the campaign, had these leaders “eating out of his hand.”  Should a Christian leader ever be described as “eating out the hand” of a political leader?  Only if you are court evangelical.  Jeffress has been eating out of Trump’s hand for more than a year now.

It is also interesting that Fox News thought it was a good idea to have Jeffress talk about Catholicism and the Pope.

When Did American Presidents Start Meeting With Popes?

Reagan and JP

In the wake of Donald Trump’s visit to the Vatican yesterday, David Mislin of Temple University correctly notes that it was once “unthinkable” for a United States President to meet with a Pope.  The history of American anti-Catholicism meant that POTUS-Pontiff visits were out of the question.

But things change.  Mislin describes these changes in his Real Clear Religion piece “Why It Was Once Unthinkable for the President to Be seen With the Pope.”

Here is a taste:

During the late 20th century, Catholic voters increasingly found common ground with Republicans on social issues such as abortion and a commitment to fighting communism abroad. What had once been the party of anti-Catholicism regularly won the support of nearly half of U.S. Catholics.

By 2016, the GOP had so expunged its anti-Catholic past that many candidates for the party’s nomination for president – including Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie – were Catholic.

Republican politicians also became willing to do what was once unthinkable: be seen with the pope. In 1959, Dwight Eisenhower became the first U.S. president to visit the Vatican. A representative of the party that had once campaigned on the fear that Catholic leaders would interfere in American politics had gone to Rome to meet the pope. Eisenhower set a lasting precedent. Every Republican president since has made the same trip.

As the 2016 campaign progressed, Donald Trump avoided igniting additional feuds with Francis. Although analysts believed that the candidate had a “Catholic problem,” Trump did quite well with Catholic voters on Election Day. He not only won white Catholics, but he increased the GOP’s share of Catholic voters over 2008 and 2012. Despite his sharp rhetoric on immigration, Trump also won a larger share of Hispanic Catholic voters than the GOP did in those years.

The meeting at the Vatican might well allow Trump an opportunity to put any lingering suspicion of anti-Catholicism to rest and cast himself as the heir of McKinley and Roosevelt’s views on Catholicism. As he departed for Belgium, the president tweeted, “Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis.” That’s a far cry from Trump’s past tweets about the pope.

Read the entire piece here.

Mislin also visited the Author’s Corner last year to discuss his book Saving Faith: Making Religious Pluralism an American Value at the Dawn of a Secular Age.

Pope Francis Gives a TED Talk

Pope Francis’s 17-minute videotaped talk was shown today at the international TED conference.  Read all about it in Colby Itkowitz’s article at The Washington Post.

Here is a taste of Itkowitz’s article:

Pope Francis used a world forum dedicated to promoting cutting-edge ideas to spread his own revolutionary message: “We all need each other.”

“When there is an ‘us,’ there begins a revolution,” the world’s most powerful religious leader told the room of scientists, academics, tech innovators, investors and cultural elites in a surprise videotaped message at the international TED conference Tuesday evening.

Keeping with the intent of the week-long conference to share strategies to make the world better, Francis’s contribution to that conversation was to urge the people gathered here to use their influence and power to care for others.

“How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion,” he said to applause. “How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us.”

When Francis appeared on screen, the room erupted in applause, and one woman exclaimed, “No way.” Though he wasn’t standing center stage in front of TED’s signature red blocks letters, but rather seated at a desk at the Vatican, his speech had all the hallmarks of a TED Talk. His began with a personal narrative and wove in big ideas around hope, inclusion and starting a “revolution of tenderness.”

Read the rest here.

 

The Pope Goes There

pope-and-trump

That’s right. Francis played the Hitler card.

Here is a taste of an NBC news article about the Pope’s recent interview with a Spanish newspaper:

ROME — Pope Francis has warned against growing populism in Europe, saying such movements could result in the election leaders of like Germany’s Adolf Hitler.

“In times of crisis, we lack judgment, and that is a constant reference for me,” the pontiff said in an in-depth interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais. “The most obvious example of European populism is Germany in 1933. After the crisis of 1930, Germany is broken, it needs to get up, to find its identity, a leader, someone capable of restoring its character, and there is a young man named Adolf Hitler.”

“Hitler didn’t steal the power, his people voted for him, and then he destroyed his people,” the pope added.

Pope Francis’ warnings come as a wave of populism washes over Europe, and as voters angry with traditional political elites throw their weight behind nationalist, anti-immigrant leaders.

During the same interview, the pope said he was reserving judgement on President Donald Trump.

“I don’t like to get ahead of myself nor judge people prematurely. We will see how he acts, what he does, and then I will have an opinion,” he said.

Read the rest here.

It Happened: Bernie Met With Pope Francis

Bernie

The other day we wondered if Bernie Sanders’s trip to the Vatican was worth it.  Apparently it was.

As some of you may recall,  yesterday he spoke at a conference on Catholic social teaching sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.  Bernie’s topic was “The Urgency of a Moral Economy: Reflections on the 25th Anniversary of Centesimus Annus.”  You can read the speech here. (Again, you read our post here).  I think it is fair to say that Bernie basically delivered his usually stump speech inflected with references of Catholic social teaching, but I will have to go back and read it more carefully.

Politicos thought that the decision to go to Rome in the middle of the New York primary would be a disaster for his presidential bid.  He is, after all, caught in a tough primary battle right now with Hillary Clinton.  This was especially the case when it appeared that Sanders would not get an audience with Pope Francis.

But then it happened.  Bernie and Pope Francis did meet yesterday.  Here is a taste of the New York Times story:

VATICAN CITY — Senator Bernie Sanders, the Democratic presidential candidate, met briefly with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday morning before the pontiff’s trip to Greece, the senator said.

“I conveyed to him my great admiration for the extraordinary work that he is doing all over the world in demanding that morality be part of our economy,” Mr. Sanders said during his flight back to New York from Rome. “We have got to move toward a moral economy, not simply an economy based on greed,” he added.

Mr. Sanders said he had also thanked the pope for his encyclical last yearcalling for action on climate change. “I can tell you, as a member of the Senate committee on environment, that encyclical has played a profound role in changing a lot of consciousness on the reality of climate change and the need to act boldly to address it,” he said.

The meeting lasted about five minutes, said the economist Jeffrey D. Sachs, an adviser to the Sanders campaign, who said he had been present. Mr. Sachs said the pope had thanked Mr. Sanders, who arrived Friday at the Vatican for a conference on social and economic issues, “for coming to the meeting and for coming to speak about the moral economy.”

Read the entire article here.

It doesn’t sound like much of a meeting, but it did happen.  Let’s see how this helps Bernie on the trail in New York and beyond.

Some Quick Thoughts on Bernie’s Trip to the Vatican

bernie-sanders-portrait-01Is it a bad a political move for Bernie Sanders to leave New York in the lead-up to the state’s primary in order to give an address at a conference sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in the Vatican?

Maybe. (How’s that for a definitive answer).

Two thoughts.

First, it is worth noting that Bernie will be speaking at a conference commemorating the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s Centesimus Annus.   John Paul II delivered this encyclical on the 100th anniversary of Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum novarum.  Most scholars trace the origins of Catholic social teaching to Leo’s 1891 encyclical.  In Centesimus Annus, John Paul II opposes Marxism and communism, defends private property and labor unions, condemns socialism and consumerism, and celebrates the dignity of the human person.  It will be interesting to see what Sanders, a self-professed “democratic socialist,” will say about this encyclical.  His address is titled, “The Urgency of a Moral Economy: Reflections on the 25th Anniversary of Centesimus Annus.”

Second, I am sure that Bernie has political motivations for going to the Vatican.  Perhaps he hopes to attract American (or New York) Catholics to his candidacy.  But Sanders’s decision to go to Rome also seems to transcend politics.  The issue of a “moral economy” is near and dear to Sanders’s heart.  Why can’t the press accept that Bernie may be motivated to speak at this event by something other than politics?

The Anti-Christ in New Hampshire

bible_Geneva

If you have been following the GOP presidential race, you know that New Hampshire has fewer evangelicals than Iowa or South Carolina. But though evangelicals do not make a large swath of the population in the Granite State, it does have its fair share of born-again Christians.  One of them is apparently Susan DeLumus, a member of the state legislature. DeLumas is supporting Donald Trump.  She obviously has no problem with Trump’s recent squabble with Pope Francis because, after all, the Pope is the anti-Christ.

Here is a taste of an article on DeLumas:

In response to her own Facebook post of three snippets of scripture from the Geneva Bible, Rep. Susan DeLemus (R) wrote: “The Pope is the anti-Christ. [sic] Do your research.” In another response, DeLemus said “I’m not sure who the Pope truly has in his heart.”

She told Politico that she was generally referring to the papacy, rather than Pope Francis in particular.

“I was actually referencing the papacy. And what I wrote after that ‘do your research,’ if you read the Geneva Bible, which is the Bible I use when we study, the commentary is – actually by the founders of the United States actually, the Protestant Church – their commentary references the papacy as the anti-Christ,” DeLemus said.

DeLumus is correct about the Geneva Bible.  Here is a taste of the notes on Revelation 13:12 that appeared in the 1560 edition:

13:12 17 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein 18 to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 

(17) The history of the acts of this beast contains in sum three things, hypocrisy, the witness of miracles and tyranny: of which the first is noted in this verse, the second in the three verses following: the third in the sixteenth and seventeenth verses. His hypocrisy is most full of lies, by which he abuses both the former beast and the whole world: in that though he has by his cunning, as it were by line, made of the former beast a most miserable skeleton or anatomy, usurped all his authority to himself and most impudently exercises the same in the sight and view of him: yet he carries himself so as if he honoured him with most high honour, and did truly cause him to be reverenced by all men. 

(18) For to this beast of Rome, which of civil Empire is made an ecclesiastical hierarchy, are given divine honours, and divine authority so far, as he is believed to be above the scriptures, which the gloss upon the Decretals declares by this devilish verse. “Articulos solvit, synodumque facit generalem” That is, “He changes the Articles of faith, and gives authority to general Councils.”
Which is spoken of the papal power. So the beast is by birth, foundation, feat, and finally substance, one: only the Pope has altered the form and manner of it, being himself the head both of that tyrannical empire, and also of the false prophets: for the empire has he taken to himself, and to it added this cunning device. Now these words, “whose deadly wound was cured” are put here for distinction sake, as also sometimes afterwards: that even at that time the godly readers of this prophecy might by this sign be brought to see the thing as present: as if it were said, that they might adore this very empire that now is, whose head we have seen in our own memory to have been cut off, and to be cured again.

A Scholar of American Catholicism Responds to Jerry Falwell’s Remarks About the Pope

Senator Bernie Sanders Speaks At Liberty University Convocation

Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, has endorsed Donald Trump. And now Falwell Jr. is defending Trump against remarks made by Pope Francis that the New York businessman and GOP presidential candidate is not a Christian because of his views on immigration.

Here is a taste of a piece at Newsmax:

Further, said Falwell, “I think the Pope is mistaken. I think John F. Kennedy would be rolling over in his grave right now if he could hear what the Pope was saying, because that’s a man who fought to be president against lots of prejudice, because many Protestants in this country did not want to elect a Catholic president, and he broke down those barriers.”

Jesus said to “render under Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” Falwell continued. “And that means to choose the best president. Here’s the Pope saying we have to choose the leaders — sounds like he’s saying this — that share his faith. Or share the Christian faith.”

Julia Byrne, the Monsignor Thomas J. Hartman Endowed Chair in Catholic Studies at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, responded to the Pope-Trump-Falwell controversy at her Facebook page.

Here is what she wrote:

• A lot of Roman Catholics support Trump, and will continue to support him here. (I have to  get numbers, and the class breakout.) Stephen Prothero has been saying that Trump is if nothing else a masterful politician, and I am starting to agree.

• Among many many white US Roman Catholics–all classes–and this is part of the legacy of JFK’s legitimizing and mainstreaming–Catholic is currently a word that means 1) my family/community connections optionally including religious practice; 2) valorization of white-ethnic identity including historic formation alongside the Roman church, life-events sanctioned by it, and identifying Catholic material culture like saints and crucifixes; and/or 3) “normal American,” i.e. Christian Smith’s “moral therapeutic deism,” not anything specifically theologically Catholic.

• This “normal American” way of using the word Catholic is also how many many white Protestants use the word Christian. Which since JFK has led, as we know, to previously unthinkable levels of collaboration between Protestants and Roman Catholics on issues of policing what normal in America means.

• As a scholar of religion, none of this is “not religion,” “not Christian,” or “not Catholic” to me. People are whatever they say they are. So I guess I … agree with Donald Trump?!

• But I do witness what Pope Francis said, and what many other Christians including Catholics try to say, as their identifying words change public meaning in directions they don’t like. Which is basically, we wish Christian including Catholic meant something else.

• But a lot of what they wish is exhorting a past that never existed, nostalgia for when everyone only ever used the words to reflect a reality of robust specific knowledge, sincere religious practice, and accountability to traditions that called you beyond your own self. Which was, for the vast majority of Christians including Catholics, never.

• Still, there is a difference between past times, when US Roman Catholics and Protestants defined themselves in opposition to each other, and now, when many alliances have erased differences, while a Roman pope trades on general Christian goodwill toward him to pronounce on the Christianity of a Presbyterian presidential candidate who then claims to be a better defender of the Vatican than the pope, and prominent Protestant Republican Falwell uses Catholic Democrat icon President Kennedy to chastise the pope.

And a bunch of RCs will agree with Falwell.

What happened in the US Roman church between then and now?