Regardless of where Americans stand on DACA, it’s imperative that they read Pope Francis’ take as said. Because the media aren’t.
On Sept. 11, Pope Francis held an in-flight conference while en route to Rome after his visit to Colombia. Following his response to one question on DACA, many in the media raced to report that Pope Francis “roasted” President Trump and that pro-life meant pro-DACA.
Some of the headlines read:
- CNN: Pope Francis Says Rescinding DACA Is Not ‘Pro-Life’
- Daily Mail: Pope Picks a Fight with Trump Saying President Can’t Be Pro-Life If He Ended DACA
- Daily Beast: Pope Francis to Trump: DACA Repeal Is Not ‘Pro-Life’
- Huffington Post: Pope Francis Says Threatening DACA Isn’t Pro-Life
- L.A. Times: Pope Tells Trump to Keep DACA in Place if He’s a True ‘Pro-Lifer’
- New York Daily News: Pope Francis Says Trump DACA Repeal Not ‘Pro-Life’
- Vanity Fair: Pope Francis Calls Out Trump, Accuses Him of ‘Pro-Life’ Hypocrisy
- Vice: The Pope Can’t Stop Roasting Donald Trump
They placed little focus on the pontiff’s confession that he didn’t understand it.
“But truthfully, on this law I don’t want to express myself,” he said at one point, “because I have not read it and I don’t like to talk about something I don’t understand.”
Instead, the media zeroed in on the comments he gave immediately after an incredibly slanted question from Noticieros Televisa Correspondant Valentina Alazraki.
“Unfortunately, in the United States they have abolished the law of the ‘dreamers,’” she began. “Do you think that with the abolition of this law the youth lose joy, hope and their future?
According to the Catholic News Agency, Pope Francis responded:
I have heard of this law. I have not been able to read the articles, how the decision was made. I don’t know it well. Keeping young people away from family is not something that brings good fruit. Every young person has their family. I think that this law, which I think comes not from parliament [sic], but from the executive, if this is the case, which I am not sure, I hope that it will be rethought a little, because I have heard the President of the United States speak as a pro-life man. If he is a good pro-life man, he understands that the family is the cradle of life, and unity must be defended. This is what comes to me. That’s why I’m interested in studying the law well.
While the pontiff said he hoped DACA would be “rethought a little,” he admitted he didn’t know it “well.” So he talked about what he did know: protecting the family.
Nowhere does he say President Trump is not pro-life. In fact, one could go so far as to argue his comments support President Trump as a pro-life figure.
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While answering another question, Pope Francis also stressed the practice of “prudence” in immigration by governments. That didn’t make media headlines.
“The problem of the immigrant is: first an ever open heart, it’s also a commandment of God, no? ‘Receive them, because you have been a slave in Egypt,’” he began when asked about Italy’s policies. “But a government must manage that problem with the virtue proper of a governor: prudence.”
Among other things, he defined prudence as the number of immigrants accepted as well as integrating them into society. He explained:
What does that mean? First: How many places do I have? Second: Not only to receive… (but to) integrate, integrate. I’ve seen examples, here in Italy, of precious integrations. I went to Roma Tre University and three students asked me questions. One was the last one. I looked at her and said, “I know that face.” It was one who, less than a year earlier, had come from Lesbos with me in the plane. She learned the language, is studying biology. They validated her classes and she continued. She learned the language. This is called integrating. On another flight, I think when we were coming back from Sweden, I spoke about the policy of integration of Sweden as a model. But also Sweden said prudently: this number I cannot do. Because there exists the danger of no integration. Third: it’s a humanitarian issue … Heart always open, prudence, integration, humanitarian closeness.