Rallies featuring U.S. President Donald Trump are always opportunities for the nation and world to get a view of the toxicity that intertwines itself with the president’s platform. That toxicity includes racism, sexism, and the like.
Understandably, the Catholic Church wouldn’t exactly want to rush to be publicly associated and/or paired up with such a thing. The appearance of four priests — known to be priests because they were dressed in traditional clerical attire — behind the president at a recent rally in Montana unsurprisingly, then, attracted some controversy.
Bishop Michael Warfel of the Great Falls-Billings diocese, which is where two of the priests were from, has now spoken out about the situation, taking care to distance his religious organization from the idea of them endorsing the president in any capacity.
‘I was not aware that the priests observed at the Trump rally would be in attendance. I was likely just as shocked as most to see that they were seated in a very prominent location in clerical attire behind the podium where the President would speak.’
He explained that the priests did not intend their appearance to be any sort of expression of support for the president and were even dismayed at where they were seated. The two priests from Warfel’s diocese went so far as to offer an apparent behind the scenes apology for “any misunderstanding or any hurt their presence caused” that was shared with the world by Warfel. They had been invited by someone else and attended, Warfel explains, because of curiosity as much as anything.
Read his full letter explaining the situation as posted on Facebook below. This is not the first time and certainly won’t be the last that Trumpism comes into conflict with religious ideals of some sort; he and Pope Francis are famously at odds, even if the two don’t exactly make their opposing views into something bigger.
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