On Saturday, during a ceremony welcoming 17 new cardinals into the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis warned attendees about the divisiveness that he feels is spreading throughout the church. The Associated Press reports that Pope Francis cautioned against the “virus of polarization,” telling the new group of cardinals, “we are not immune from this.”
During his speech, Pope Francis specifically issued a warning about “our pitiful hearts that tend to judge, divide, oppose, and condemn” and those who “raise walls, build barriers, and label people.” He also encouraged those in attendance to not be so quick to deem those who are different from them an enemy or a threat.
‘We see, for example, how quickly those among us with the status of the stranger, an immigrant, or a refugee, become a threat, take on the status of an enemy. An enemy because they come from a distant country, or have different customs.
‘The virus of polarization and animosity permeates our way of thinking, feeling and acting.’
Pope Francis never called out Donald Trump by name; however, it seems to be more than a mere coincidence that he delivered a speech about accepting immigrants shortly after the United States electorate chose as their leader for the next four years a man who has proposed mass deportation and the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
This is not the first time that the Pope has spoken out against Donald Trump and his campaign promises, either. In February of this year, when asked about Trump’s proposed border wall, he said, “a person who only thinks about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”
At least one of the newly appointed cardinals has views similar to Pope Francis’s when it comes to immigration. Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin, who was in the news recently for helping to resettle Syrian refugees despite now vice president-elect Mike Pence’s best efforts to block aid to and limit the number of Syrian refugees in Indiana.
Tobin recently addressed Trump’s victory, saying that, under him, the priority of settling immigrants and refugees “is going to be challenging.” He added, though, that he believes “the ethical reflection of a nation isn’t reduced to the government” and said that he has “a lot of faith in the American people.”
Watch a clip from today’s ceremony, which includes Pope Francis’s remarks, below, via YouTube:
Featured image via Franco Origlia/Getty Images