Pope Francis backs bishops condemning family separation policy

Blanche Robertson
June 22, 2018

Pope Francis meets members of "Share the Journey'", an association which helps refugees, in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, during his weekly general audience, Wednesday, June 20, 2018.

The foreign policy of the USA has led to many parents being separated from their kids at the Mexican border.

Pope Francis backed the Catholic bishops in the United States who condemned the practice of separating children from parents after families are caught crossing the U.S-Mexico border illegally, according to an interview published Wednesday.

In a transcript of the interview shared by Reuters, the pope said, "During Obama's (presidency), I celebrated Mass at Ciudad Juarez, on the border, and on the other side there were 50 bishops concelebrating and in the stadium there were many people".

Pope Francis has added his voice to those criticizing the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that has resulted in the separation of families at the Mexican border.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops' conference, issued a statement during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' bi-annual meeting in Houston last week criticizing the enforcement of separating migrant families at the Mexican border, saying that "separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral".

Asked in parliament whether she would discuss immigration with Trump when he visits the United Kingdom in July, May said they would speak about "a range of issues" and that "when we disagree with them, we say so".

The Pope added that it was not exclusively "a Trump issue".

European Union says it will start to impose tariffs on United States on Friday
The tit-for-tat conflict between the U.S. and China - the world's two largest economies - is poised to escalate from there. That hands the Chinese side room to impose penalties such as Customs delays, tax audits and increased regulatory scrutiny.

The conversation with Reuters marks the Pope's first on-the-record interview with a major American news outlet.

He said reform of the Vatican administration, the Curia, was going well "but we have to work more". The Vatican bank, which closed hundreds of suspicious or dormant accounts, "now works well", he said.

Referring to criticism he has received throughout his papacy, the Pope said he prays for those who have said "nasty things" about him.

Nevertheless, Pope Francis said the current wave of populist rhetoric against migrants was "creating psychosis" and that people seeking a better life should not be rejected.

"We got rid of orphanages a long time ago in America", he says noting that other kids removed from their parents stay with relatives or in smaller foster-care programs.

Pope Francis described his position in more forceful terms on Twitter.

He also voiced optimism about the Vatican's ongoing discussion with China on the appointment of bishops, saying the discussions are "at a good point".

He said he wanted to appoint more women to head Vatican departments because they were better at resolving conflicts, though this should not lead to what he called "masculinism in a skirt". "Let's move forward serenely".

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