Pope Francis was asked about President Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program aboard the papal plane returning from Colombia Sunday. While an official Vatican transcript is still unavailable, CNN reported that the pope called for Trump to re-think the decision because a good pro-lifer “understands that family is the cradle of life and its unity must be protected.”
"The President of the United States presents himself as pro-life and if he is a good pro-lifer, he understands that family is the cradle of life and its unity must be protected," Pope Francis said.
The pope did acknowledge that he was not familiar with the specifics of the DACA program but said, "I think this law comes not from parliament but from the executive. If that is so, I am hopeful that it will be re-thought."
The pope has made comments critiquing Trump’s stance on immigration in the past, including his famous comment during the election that “a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not a Christian.”
A spokesman for the pope later insisted that the remarks were not aimed at then-candidate Trump.
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon also made remarks, that aired on 60 Minutes Sunday, criticizing the immigration stance of Catholic bishops in the US, claiming they “need illegal aliens to fill the churches.”
The bishops called this claim “preposterous.”
“This is not doctrine,” Bannon added. “This is not doctrine at all. I totally respect the pope and I totally respect the Catholic bishops and cardinals on doctrine. This is not about doctrine. This is about the sovereignty of a nation. And in that regard, they’re just another guy with an opinion.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church does state that “the more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin.”
However, to Bannon’s point, it also states that “Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.”
Update: CNA/EWTN News released a full transcript of the pope's remarks here.