By Cindy Wooden
THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM COLOMBIA (CNS) — Politicians who call themselves
pro-life must be pro-family and not enact policies that divide families and rob
young people of a future, Pope Francis said.
from Colombia back to Rome late Sept. 10, Pope Francis was asked about U.S.
President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program,
which allowed some 800,000 young people brought to the United States illegally
as children to stay in the country, working or going to school.
announced Sept. 5 that
he was phasing out the program; his decision was strongly criticized by the
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Francis said he had heard of Trump’s decision, but had not had time to study
the details of the issue. However, he said, “uprooting young people from
their families is not something that will bear fruit.”
law, which I think comes not from the legislature, but from the executive
(branch) — if that’s right, I’m not sure — I hope he rethinks it a bit,”
the pope said, “because I’ve heard the president of the United States
speak; he presents himself as a man who is pro-life, a good pro-lifer.
he is a good pro-lifer, he understands that the family is the cradle of life
and its unity must be defended,” the pope said.
Francis said people must be very careful not to dash the hopes and dreams of
young people or make them feel “a bit exploited,” because the results
can be disastrous, leading some to turn to drugs or even suicide.
Francis spent only about 35 minutes answering journalists’ questions and
commenting on his five-day trip to Colombia. After he had answered eight
questions, Greg Burke, director of the Vatican press office, told the pope it
was time to sit down because the plane was approaching an area of turbulence.
pope went to the journalists’ section of the plane still wearing a small
bandage on his left eyebrow and sporting a large bump, which had turned black
and blue, on his cheek. Rather than joking with reporters, he told them that he
had been reaching out of the popemobile to greet people and turned. “I
didn’t see the glass.”
his trip back to Rome did not have to change flight plans like the flight to
Colombia Sept. 6 did because of Hurricane Irma, Pope Francis was asked about
the apparently increasing intensity of hurricanes and other storms and what he
thinks of political leaders who doubt climate change is real.
who denies this must go to the scientists and ask,” he said. “They
speak very clearly. Scientists are precise.”
Francis said he read a report citing a university study that asserted humanity
has only three years to reduce the pace of climate change before it’s too late.
“I don’t know if three years is right or not, but if we don’t turn back,
we’ll go down, that’s true.”
change — you can see the effects,” Pope Francis said. “And the
scientists have told us clearly what the paths to follow are.”
has a moral responsibility to act, he said. “And we must take it
not something to play with,” the pope said. “It’s very serious.”
who doubt climate change is real or that human activity contributes to it
should speak to the scientists and “then decide. And history will judge
why he thinks governments have been so slow to act, Pope Francis said he thinks
it’s partly because, as the Old Testament says, “Man is stupid, a stubborn
one who does not see.”
the other reason, he said, is almost always money.
about his five-day stay in Colombia, Pope Francis said he was “really
moved by the joy, the tenderness” and the expressiveness of the people. In
the end, they are the ones who will determine whether Colombia truly has peace
after 52 years of civil war.
and diplomats can do all the right things to negotiate peace deals, he said,
but if the nation’s people aren’t on board, peace will not be lasting. In
Colombia, he said, the people have a clear desire to live in peace.
struck me most about the Colombian people,” he said, was watching
hundreds, perhaps thousands, of fathers and mothers along the roads he traveled,
and they would lift their children high so the pope would see and bless them.
they were doing, he said, was saying, “This is my treasure. This is my
hope. This is my future. I believe in this.”
parents’ behavior with their little ones, he said, “is a symbol of hope,
of a future.”
Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden.
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