The Pope, the Rube and the Prime Minister who invited the head of the Catholic church to come to Canada and apologize to the aboriginal community.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

June 3rd, 2017



What an imperfect couple they made, the man of conscience and the rube. Not to insult the man but Trump has no excuse for behaving as he does. He has a ton of money, the richest US president ever. In fact he is almost as rich as Pope Francis, who heads one of the most profitable organizations in history, which unlike Trump’s empire has never gone bankrupt.

Anyway, when two billionaires get together you’d think they’d be nicer to each other. But these guys have very little in common outside of the asset values of their inherited corporate holdings. And Pope Francis actually understands what his job is all about, in addition to being a nice guy and a breath of fresh air.

Trump and Pope

Pope Francis with US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania

But the Pope got himself on the Donald’s bad side when he criticized him for wanting to build that stupid Mexico wall, in fact calling wall building anti-Christian. And Trump, in a rare moment of clarity, tweeted back that the Vatican is in fact also surrounded by walls. Though in his defence, Francis was likely being philosophical and that would have gone right over the head of the newest apprentice in the oval office.

So one can only imagine what went on behind those walls at the Holy See as the two old souls got hot and heavy into what’s wrong with the world and how to fix it. And you’d think they’d have stopped where they have common ground – opposition to birth control. After all, Trump is dismantling American planned parenthood, and the Church is still pushing its 10th century dogma, passively instructing faithful parishioners to breed like rabbits.

And for a thinking Pope who has come out against global warming, what could be more fundamental to that issue than reducing the rate of global population growth? Even if the birth rate of western nations has started declining, they’d need to decline much further to compensate for the longevity of seniors. And as for the masses of people in developing nations looking to acquire the fossil-fuel lifestyles we have been enjoying, if the rest of the world lived like Americans, or Canadians, we’d be in an even sorrier mess.

But in fact, global population is still increasing. And it’s not because we need more labour. Automation and robotics are already threatening labour markets everywhere. Ignorance and religion, as personified by Trump and the Pope, respectively, sit at center stage in this unfortunate drama as we blindly pull the curtain on our existence, as we know it, on this planet.

Justin + Pope

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with Pope Francis

So it’s little wonder when Trump departed their meeting, that the Pope couldn’t muster a smile. Not that Francis ever smiles for his official post-visit photo shoots, not even when good Catholic himself, our own Justin showed up at the Papal door. Trudeau wasn’t just there for the chat and a cup of holy tea. He needed the big man to apologize for the abuse Catholic educators over the years had inflicted on young indigenous children – the residential schools.

Justin Pierre and Pope

Pope John Paul II with a young Justin Trudeau and his father Pierre Trudeau

It was a recommendation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Trudeau had taken to implementing all the recommendations, so here he was – true to his word. And rumours are that his Holiness will be popping over to see us next year, so Justin may have just pulled off that gutsy manoeuvre. But did he also talk about climate change and birth control?

Trump has finally made formal what we all expected. He has taken the USA out of the Paris Climate Agreement – the most important game on earth to try to preserve our climate. It was an election promise after all. And he’s in good company among people thinking that there is no art to the Paris deal. Nicaragua and Syria won’t sign up for emission reductions either. And at least he’s consistent. Trump made it clear during the election that he thinks climate change is only a hoax perpetrated by China to wreck the American economy.

So some are figuring that it is better to have America out of the pact than obstructing from the sidelines, as GW Bush’s team did while the rest of the world tried to implement that earlier agreement, Kyoto.

smoke stacks

The United States is on of the biggest emitters of environmental pollution.

Already Europe has made it clear they will entertain no new discussions with the White House on the accord, and China is positioning itself as the new world leader on this most important file.

Besides Mr. ‘Make America Great Again’ will have his hands full tearing up trade deals, closing the borders, restarting coal mining and cutting taxes for the richest Americans. Chances are good that this agenda will just result in Trump digging the kind of hole GW dug himself. Indeed a hole so big that he’ll need a lifeline and prayer to get out. But after that unfortunate meeting with the Pope he won’t be getting any Papal Blessings.

Rivers-direct-into-camera1-173x300Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington in 1995.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.     Tweet @rayzrivers


Background links:

Catholic Business –    Trump and the Pope –    More Trump

Birth Control and Trump –   Birth Control and Pope –   Trudeau and the Pope

Trudeau Photo Op –   Trudeau meets the Pope –   Trump Statement

Trump and Paris Accord –   Trump Announcement –   Trump Backlash

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1 comment to The Pope, the Rube and the Prime Minister who invited the head of the Catholic church to come to Canada and apologize to the aboriginal community.

  • An excellent analysis. Of course, one could say the Pope is not himself personally wealthy, but that would overlook the reality that both Trump and the Pope each have control of enormous wealth, and power beyond mere wealth. Years ago it was famously asked, “How many divisions does the Pope have?” But the power beyond wealth lies along two different parameters: Guns versus morals. Trump has the guns, but no morals; Francis has the morals, but no guns. True, while the morals of the Catholic church are being re-examined, as in the First Nations issues, they are mortally deficient in their contradictory stance on climate change and population control. But a change would be as simple as the issuance of a Papal Bull reversing the Church’s position on contraception and abortion. Trump, on the other hand, is opting for pure Fascism which will ultimately find its expression in the war the previous comment cites. I agree that countries with few allies, such as North Korea, are at imminent risk although the Russians have recently expanded their trade with North Korea perhaps as a hedge against China.

    So, we find ourselves in a world which is waiting for the two ideologues in the room to, in one case, have a change of mind or, in the other, to act in such a way as to be deposed by their own people. While the Pope can claim Papal Infallibility for such a change of mind, the impeachment of Trump would solve nothing since the American Fascist Party is virtually in total control of the nation.