This is a pretty good musing on the upcoming meeting of Trump and Pope Francis. I’ve put a rather extended excerpt below, hoping that Michael Sean Winters would not mind... https://www.ncronline.org/print/blogs/distinctly-catholic/dont-expect-meeting-francis-change-trump It is not that Pope Francis sees only a spiritual crisis in the West, nor that he only blames forces external to the church. He saves his harshest language for clergy who treat the People of God in an unmerciful and high-handed way. No, his way is to encourage, to dialogue and, most especially, to go to the peripheries to see how God is at work among His chosen people, the poor and the marginalized. Francis is a kind of champion of the global south, rich in resources both material and spiritual, but heretofore excluded and manipulated or worse by the powerful. He lifts up the lowly and sends the rich away empty. He could not be more countercultural. Trump, on the other hand, epitomizes the emerging consumer culture of the 1950s that social critics decried. He not only likes glitzy show, it is the essence of his business empire. Trump was once a man who built buildings, but for the past twenty years or so he has mostly built only his brand. He puts his name on golf courses and ties, on steaks and on hotels. (He thinks there is some "value-added" quality to his own name, and the country evidently agreed with him last November.) Everything is over-the-top. Why have silver faucets in a bathroom when you can have gold? Why not have your own plane? At its core, his is a life that celebrates the acquisition of more and more stuff. "If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much and I would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy and sick," John Steinbeck wrote to his friend Adlai Stevenson in 1959. Alas, here we are. Instead of compassion, mercy, and reaching out to the excluded, however, Trump's recipe for coping with the problems of neoliberalism is to become most known for saying "You're fired." He stokes the anger of those who have been left behind by globalization, yet offers tax cuts to the superrich, doubling down on the trickle-down economics that largely got the nation in its fiscal mess in the first place. Instead of building a culture of solidarity, he demeans opponents and mocks the handicapped, and instead of building bridges to the excluded and marginalized, he indulges a kind of social Darwinism, characterizes desperate people as criminals, and seeks to build walls. He is a narcissist mixed with the worst personal traits of both a robber baron and a tinpot dictator, wrapped in marketing paraphernalia and glitter. Regrettably, he is also the president of the United States. What will they talk about? --- Well, maybe they’ll talk about Callista Gingrich, who is Trump's newly nominated US ambassador to the Vatican, and the third wife of Newt Gingrich. http://www.npr.org/2017/05/20/529276806/callista-gingrich-nominated-as-ambassador-to-the-vatican On the other hand, her nomination still requires confirmation by the Senate, and then there’s always the fact that ol’ Newt was dating Callista for a long long time while Newt was still married to his second wife. But I’d expect Trump will try to stick to pleasantries provided by his staff while he talks with the Pope, something to get around the topic of the Mexican wall on which the two have clashed in the past. Maybe they can stick to talking about how the left-behind of the planet need less talk and more action to get a real chance to catch up.