Tuesday was the conclusion of President Trump’s second leg of his international trip to the Middle East and Europe. Before departing on Air Force One for Rome, Italy and Vatican City to meet Pope Francis, the President made some time to talk to Israeli journalists in Tel Aviv. Once again, the President has left the world scratching their heads.
When asked about his upcoming trip to Vatican City, President Trump stated, “You know, I really like that Pope Francis. The Pope is a very powerful figure in the world, and so am I. So, we have a lot in common. I think we’ll get along just perfect. He’ll love me.”
This is the first time the new President will have an opportunity to meet the respected Catholic pontiff, and it seems that the occasion has inspired new goals for the President. He went on to say, “I think I would make a very good Pope. I mean, I already won the presidency with a huge, huge majority. I have a way of just making everyone trust me, you know? And, the Vatican, with all the gold and all the beautiful, expensive art. I know I would fit right in. When is the Pope’s term up? Who knows? Maybe I’ll run for Pope after I’m done being President. I think many, many people already basically worship me.”
It’s unclear whether the President was joking when he said this, or whether he was being genuine. Nonetheless, there are a few major flaws with this logic.
First and foremost, the Pope is not a democratically elected official with term limits. When a Pope dies or resigns, the College of Cardinals is summoned to Vatican City to deliberate in absolute secrecy over who will be the next Pope. The College of Cardinals is made up of a few hundred Cardinals from around the world. For as long as two weeks following a Papal vacancy, the Cardinals will discuss world issues, as well as the merits and shortcomings of Papal candidates. Once the meetings have concluded, each will submit an anonymous ballot, which is subsequently burned, creating a white smoke signal to indicate to the world that a new Pope has been chosen.
This is not to mention that the President is not Catholic, but a Presbyterian Protestant; perhaps the polar opposite of Catholicism, as far as Christianity is concerned. President Trump’s statements seem to indicate an absolute ignorance for the Pope’s role, as well as a basic understanding of the Catholic Church.
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