A top Vatican official has expressed the Holy See’s concern about President Donald J. Trump’s recent directives on the treatment of refugees seeking resettlement in the United States.
“Certainly there is concern because we are messengers of another culture, that of openness,” Archbishop Angelo Becciu said. He was responding to questions from journalists focusing on Mr. Trump’s executive order on Jan. 25 that temporarily blocked citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. Archbishop Becciu is the number three official at the Vatican, heading up the Secretariat of State’s Section for General Affairs.
It was the first official Vatican comment on the recent policy decisions by the U.S. president. Vatican officials are well aware that Mr. Trump’s executive orders have drawn a strong reaction from Catholic Church leaders in the United States.
“The pope insists on the capacity for integration,” the Sardinian-born prelate told the press when he met them at the opening of an academic year at a Roman University on Feb. 1. Pope Francis “insists on the capacity to integrate those who arrive in our society and culture,” he added.
“We are builders of bridges, not of walls. Christians must be strong in reaffirming this message,” the archbishop said, according to Vatican Radio.
Clearly, there is deep concern in the Vatican and in church circles in Italy about the policies being promoted by the new White House administration.
Many in Rome see these policies as contrasting strongly with the good wishes expressed in the message that Pope Francis sent to Mr. Trump at his inauguration, in which he called for “far-sighted and united political responses” to the “grave humanitarian crises” that beset the human family today.
Francis added that he would be praying that the president’s decisions “will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people and your nation’s commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide.”
He concluded with words to the president that now take on a particular significance: “Under your leadership, may America’s stature continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door.”