Pope Francis echoed a popular progressive talking point on Monday when he questioned whether President Trumpcan really be considered “pro-life” due to his stance on immigration.
“I have heard the President of the United States speak,” the pope said aboard the papal plane, the National Catholic Reporter reported. “He presents himself as a pro-life man. If he is a good pro-lifer, he should understand that the family is the cradle of life and you must defend its unity.”
The pontiff was responding to a question from a Mexican reporter about Mr. Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, which granted a two-year stay of deportation to illegal immigrants who were brought to the country as children.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the policy will be phased out over the next six months because there is no way to defend the constitutionality of the Obama-era program in court.
“Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch,” Mr. Sessions said Tuesday at the Justice Department.
Mr. Trump directed Congress to devise a legislative solution that would “work out very well” for the DACA recipients, also known as “Dreamers.”
Francis acknowledged that he had not studied the particulars of DACA, but said “removing young people from their family is not a thing that bears good fruit, neither for the young person nor the family.”
“Young people today need to re-find their roots,” the pontiff said. “And anything that goes against this robs them of hope.”
This isn’t the first time that the pope has questioned the sincerity of Mr. Trump’s beliefs. Last year, he said a person “who thinks only about building walls” and not “building bridges is not a Christian.”
The president called those comments “disgraceful” at the time.
In the interview aboard the papal plane on Monday, Francis also said political leaders have a “moral responsibility” to cut carbon emissions in order to prevent climate change.
“If someone is a bit doubtful … ask the scientists,” the pope said in response to a question about the recent natural disasters. “They are very clear. They are not opinions on the fly. They are very clear. Then, decide and history will judge the decisions.”
Asked why political leaders have not done more to curb carbon emissions so far, Francis paraphrased a passage from the Old Testament.
“A stubborn [animal] that does not see,” the pope said, NCR reported. “The human is stupid, the Bible says. When it does not want to see, it does not see. It sees only a part.”