I know that Pope Francis was not directly referring to Donald Trump when he said the following words, and I am certainly not a Catholic anymore nor have I been for over 50 years. But this passage from his unscripted speech to 600,000 youths in Paraguay on July 12th hits Trump’s act dead center.
Friends: the devil is a con artist. He makes promises after promise, but he never delivers. He’ll never really do anything he says. He doesn’t make good on his promises. He makes you want things which he can’t give, whether you get them or not. He makes you put your hopes in things which will never make you happy.
… He is a con artist because he tells us that we have to abandon our friends, and never to stand by anyone. Everything is based on appearances. He makes you think that your worth depends on how much you possess.
Right down the middle.
If you have listened to any of Trump’s speeches, one very interesting repeated lick is that whenever he says something about “My good friend’…whomever that might be…he is sure to immediately describe how that “friend” recently called him up to complain about some part of Trump’s act, followed by something like “Of course I will never speak to him again…” This is a big part of his act, as are his ongoing put-downs of various people who must be “stupid” because they don’t make the kind of money he makes.
Now…religion is all metaphor for something much bigger, and Pope Francis seems to know this. He has just described Donald Trump’s stump speeches in two paragraphs. Did he aim for Trump? I don’t know. In his classic book “Zen In The Art Of Archery” Eugen Herrigel describes how Kyudo Archery teaches one to hit a target without aiming. “Impossible,” you say? No. It’s not. It’s a well documented practice. You could look it up. Maybe Pope Francis is more of a Zen archer than the typical Pope.
Whatever. Aiming or not, he scored a bullseye.