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Vatican spokesman downplays Pope's comments during airplane interview

February 19, 2016

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, has insisted that Pope Francis had not intended a "personal attack" on Donald Trump.

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In a February 19 interview with Vatican Radio, Father Lombardi sought to quell the controversy provoked by the Pontiff's latest off-the cuff remarks, saying that in his answer to a question about Trump, the Pope had merely been reiterating his well-known views on the immigration question. "The Pope said what we already know, if we follows his teachings and positions," the papal spokesman said; "We shouldn't build walls, but bridges."

Father Lombardi went on to say that although the Pope was answering a question about Trump, his remarks were not intended as a judgment on the American political candidate. "It's his generic view, coherent with the nature of solidarity from the Gospel," he said.

Regarding another controversy the Pope had caused in the same interview, when he suggested that contraceptive use might be justifiable as a response to the Zika epidemic, Father Lombardi again tried to minimize the impact of the Pope's remarks. The thrust of the Pontiff's message, he said, had been to say that a "well-formed conscience can see if there are any possibilities, or need, for use of non-abortifacients to prevent pregnancy."


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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Bveritas2322 - Feb. 22, 2016 12:52 PM ET USA

    Two counts of incoherence justified by two counts of incoherence. Building bridges and not walls is on the intelligence level of Bernie Sanders saying everything should be free. And Pope Francis' position that two Commandments (the Fifth and Sixth) can stand in opposition to each other is nothing short of blasphemy or, to bend over backwards in charity, profound ignorance.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Feb. 20, 2016 11:19 AM ET USA

    A "well-formed conscience can see if there are any possibilities, or need, for use of non-abortifacients to prevent pregnancy." I guess this is the case where the Nun can tell her her soon to be rapist to use a condom, please. What an absurdity! Breakfast table type conversation is not appropriate for talking with the Press. Someone, please, tell him to stop talking. Even his spokesman can't explain away what he says.

  • Posted by: unum - Feb. 19, 2016 8:13 PM ET USA

    Fr. Lombardi needs to explain to the Holy Father that you should never try to pet a Doberman Pinscher!

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Feb. 19, 2016 7:32 PM ET USA

    Nomination for the man with the toughest job in the world: Rev. Federico Lombardi, explainer-away-in-chief to His Holiness.