(CNSNews.com) – Pope Francis told Spanish journalists as President Donald Trump was being sworn in that he would “wait and see” what the new president does in office, cautioning against prejudgment.
“I think that we must wait and see,” he told the El Pais newspaper in an interview, published on Sunday. “I don’t like to get ahead of myself nor judge people prematurely.”
“We will see how he acts, what he does, and then I will have an opinion. But being afraid or rejoicing beforehand because of something that might happen is, in my view, quite unwise.”
The Pope compared doing so to prophets predicting disaster or windfalls that in the end did not materialize.
“We will see,” he said. “We will see what he does and will judge.”
In a congratulatory telegram to Trump on Friday, the Pope offered “my cordial good wishes and the assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will grant you wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high office.”
“At a time when our human family is beset by grave humanitarian crises demanding far-sighted and united political responses, I pray that your 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,” the Pope said.
“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. With these sentiments, I ask the Lord to grant you and your family, and all the beloved American people, his blessings of peace, concord and every material and spiritual prosperity.”
Elsewhere in the wide-ranging El Pais interview, Pope Francis was asked about the phenomenon of populism in the West.
The interviewers said that some political groups “capitalize on the fears in face of an uncertain future in order to form a message full of xenophobia and hatred towards the foreigner. Trump's case is the most noteworthy, but there are others such as Austria or Switzerland. Are you worried about this phenomenon?”
The Pope in his reply focused on Europe, where he warned that people, in times of crisis and lacking judgment, could look for a “savior” who offers to give them back their identity and defend them with “walls [and] barbed wire.”
The most obvious example, he said, was that of a Germany, “immersed in a crisis,” putting Adolf Hitler in power in 1933.
“Hitler didn’t steal the power, his people voted for him, and then he destroyed his people.”
In other comments, Pope Francis urged countries in Europe to integrate migrants, and not allow the formation of ghettoes of disaffected newcomers.
He pointed to Sweden as “the model for all the world,” saying new arrivals there were provided with documentation, healthcare, a home, “and the following week you have a school to learn the language, and a little bit of work, and you are on your way.”
“On the other hand, when there is not integration, they get ‘ghettoized,’ and I am not blaming anyone, but it is a fact that there are ghettos,” he said. “It may be that they didn’t realize at that time.”
The Pope recalled that the Islamist terrorists who killed 32 people at Brussels airport and on a subway train last March had been Belgian-born but “lived in an immigrant neighborhood, a closed neighborhood” of the Belgian capital.