694940094001_5441125115001_5441101346001-vs.jpg


Campi Flegrei is a supervolcano located south of Naples that has not erupted since 1538, but which geologists warn is rapidly swelling with magma.  If it blows this week, it would only be Italy’s second biggest seismic event, behind Donald Trump’s meeting with Pope Francis.

The two men – both of whom stunned the world by their rise to the pinnacle of power – could not be more different in their core beliefs, nor similar in their unpredictability.

The President wants to strengthen America’s borders by building a wall with Mexico; Francis has made helpless, homeless migrants his priority, and says anyone who erects barriers between people cannot be a Christian.

In one important respect, however, Trump and the pope share a deep bond: each has disdain, if not outright disgust, for the traditions of his office.

America’s CEO has pledged to put America first and rescind trade deals that don’t benefit the U.S.; the Vicar of Christ believes the most powerful nations, especially the United States, should do more to help poorer ones.

Trump has vowed to rebuild the military; the pope thinks the use of armed force is inherently immoral.

Trump was, until he became president, the poster child for self-made wealth and affluent living; Francis has called on rich people to give away their fortunes in order to attain salvation.

In one important respect, however, Trump and the pope share a deep bond: each has disdain, if not outright disgust, for the traditions of his office.

Trump has shocked official Washington with his ill-thought-out statements, his indifference to accuracy, and his savage assessment of the working press. He has managed to weld together Democrats, some Republicans, liberals and nearly all the Beltway media into a coalition dedicated to his downfall.

Francis, too, signaled instantly after his 2013 elevation to the Throne of Peter that he was a different, perhaps radical leader. He refused to move into the papal residence, made his own phone calls, expressed doubt about the Church’s centuries-old disapproval of homosexuality, rebuked, and in some cases, removed cardinals and bishops who challenged his unorthodox views. Alarmed, a few conservative members of the curia have put up resistance, bolstered by harrumphing in right-wing Catholic publications that fear Francis is going too far, too fast.

As a result of their separate eccentricities, both men deal with a constantly swirling whirlpool of rumors, resentment, rebellion and malicious leaks around them.

Trump tweets his smallest thoughts and resentments like a recluse in a dark room. Francis tosses aside Church magisterium like yesterday’s newspaper.  In so doing, each has shaken the foundations of the institution he was elected to preserve, while also inspiring legions of rabid supporters starved for what they view as long-overdue change.  

Advance delegations from both the White House and the Vatican have worked overtime to ensure that the summit goes smoothly. While the agenda contains obvious flashpoints – immigration, climate change, religious persecution, human trafficking – each side says that their man has agreed to play by the regular rules of decorum. No one can guarantee that will happen.

After all, one claims to be infallible; the other just thinks he is. But which is which?

John Moody is Executive Vice President, Executive Editor for Fox News. A former Rome bureau chief for Time magazine, he is the author of four books including “Pope John Paul II : Biography.



Source link

About the Author:

Leave a Reply