May 25, 2017

When Francis Met Donald (or, Habemus problem)


Melville House author Pope Francis has been throwing shade at Donald Trump for a while now. You may remember that before the election, Francis said in a speech that “fear—as well as being a good deal for the merchants of arms and death—weakens and destabilizes us, destroys our psychological and spiritual defenses, numbs us to the suffering of others,” which many interpreted a comment on Trump’s campaign rhetoric. And the Pope didn’t stop there, he also met Donald Trump on his own turf: Twitter.


Fans of the Pope-est with the mostest (hey, I’m tryin’) can start rejoicing afresh, because he’s got some not-so-subtle words for the president. In fact, he put those words in a book, and we published it. At their meeting yesterday, one of the gifts The Pope gave to The Donald was a copy of his Encyclical on Climate Change & Inequality. He included it with writing on family and the “joy of the gospel,” as well as his World Day of Peace message for 2017. Trump was heard to respond, “Well, I’ll be reading them.”

Um. It’s very possible that we just witnessed Donald Trump lie to the Pope. As we’ve already reported, Trump has an embarrassing shit library and has read very few books. We also know from reporting last week that he can’t even get through memos unless his name is mentioned in them frequently. So the probability that Trump is actually going to readthe books Francis gave himseems… low.

But hey, the Pope is willing to give Trump a chance, so maybe we should too. After all, if Trump were lying to the Pope, he could soon find himself in Malebolge, the eighth circle of Dante’s hell (scholars may right now be arguing over which of the circle’s ten infernal bolge (they’re basically ditches) this would get him set to— the first, fifth, sixth, ninth, and tenth look like good bets to me).

As Pope Francis writes in his Encyclical, “We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters. Nothing in this world is indifferent to us.” And hey, that includes you, Donald. We’d be very grateful if you kept us in the Paris Climate Accord and didn’t let Scott Pruitt gut the EPA. And you should remember that the Pope is with us and the earth on this one.

Laudato si, mi Papa!



Peter Clark is a former Melville House sales manager.