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September 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life Catholic leaders are defending President Trump against Pope Francis after the Pontiff questioned Trump’s pro-life views, despite the fact that Trump has racked up major pro-life accomplishments during his short time in office.

“If Pope Francis is so concerned with the commitment of others to the defense of preborn children, he should consider his own words and actions, as well,” said Michael Hichborn, founder and president of the Lepanto Institute.

The Pope questions the President’s pro-life credentials

On the return flight from his visit to Colombia, Pope Francis criticized Trump over his plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA allows children of illegal immigrants who were illegally brought into the country to remain and apply for work permits.

“I have heard the President of the United States speak,” said Pope Francis as translated and reported by the National Catholic Reporter. “He presents himself as a pro-life man. If he is a good pro-lifer, he should understand that the family is the cradle of life and you must defend its unity.”

Hichborn points out a dichotomy present in the Pope’s statement. “One has to ask why Pope Francis, who was silent about President Obama's full support of the abortion industry, is questioning President Trump's commitment to the pro-life cause,” Hichborn wondered. “Since ‘the family is the cradle of life and you must defend its unity,’ as Pope Francis says, perhaps he will now clarify that permitting sacrilegious confessions and Communions to divorced and 'remarried' Catholics is a direct assault on the unity of the family.”

Hichborn doesn’t stop there. “Pope Francis has caused great confusion and concern for Catholics since he took office. He called Emma Bonino, an Italian abortionist, one of Italy’s ‘lost greats.’ He suggested that contraception might be justifiable in light of the Zika outbreak. He has hosted population control enthusiasts in the Vatican. He is collaborating with population control enthusiast Jeffrey Sachs. He gutted the Pontifical Academy for Life and actually appointed a pro-abortion theologian to the academy.”

Deal Wyatt Hudson, president of the Morley Institute for Church and Culture and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine, expressed a similar sentiment. “It saddens me that the Holy Father refuses to recognize President Trump's convictions and actions to protect the unborn in our nation. He does the Church a huge disservice by doubting the president's commitment to protect life because of his views on immigration, as if persons cannot be called ‘pro-life’ unless they agree with Pope Francis on that issue.”

Austin Ruse, president of the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam), recounted a short litany of pro-life actions already taken by the new White House. “President Trump has appointed a pro-life constitutionalist to the Supreme Court. He has appointed pro-life constitutionalist to the lower benches. He has defunded the rapaciously pro-abortion UN Population Fund. He has taken pro-life positions at the UN. He has staffed the Department of Health and Human Services stem to stern with pro-life Catholics and Evangelicals.”

The Pope’s seamless garment vs. the President’s protection for the unborn

Some pro-life church leaders questioned the Pope’s conflation of immigration policy with protections for the unborn. “I think it is problematic to merge of all these issues together into one,” said Mallory Quigley, communications director the for pro-life Susan B. Anthony List.

Quigley feels that stacking the two issues together unfairly obscures the president’s major pro-life achievements. “The United States has some of the most permissive, pro-abortion laws on the books and President Trump made four key promises to change that. He has absolutely governed as a president who values the sanctity of life from the moment of conception.”

Like C-fam’s Ruse, Quigley noted that President Trump “has appointed pro-life judges and others to key offices. His administration took immediate action to enact and expand the Mexico City Policy stopping taxpayer dollar from funding abortion overseas. He’s also signed legislation allowing states to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s number one abortion business, through Title X.”

Does Pope Francis not understand how America works?

Robert Royal, founder and president of the Faith and Reason Institute, suggested that perhaps the Pope fails to understand how the American system of government works:  “DACA was unconstitutional – as even President Obama conceded, until he decided to do it anyway  … I don’t think he understands that President Trump has thrown the problem to Congress, where it belongs, to develop – constitutionally – the right response to the situation.”

“We in America admit over one million legal immigrants each year. So America is not the xenophobic nation that the media and some of our religious leaders seem to believe,” Royal added.

Judie Brown, President of the American Life League, also wonders if “Pope Francis has misunderstood President Trump.” She continued, “Pope Francis has failed to see a fundamental difference between respect for the integrity of the human person and President Trump's effort to mainstream undocumented aliens in a way that comports with the laws of the United States of America.”

Not all important issues facing the church and the world today carry the same weight.  

“The United States has exponentially more foreign-born citizens than any other country,”  Ruse observed. “With all due respect, DACA is a prudential matter best left to lay experts.”

Hudson added, “Pope Francis is effectively using a prudential matter — immigration — to judge a settled matter of Church teaching — the prohibition of abortion. He's got the thing backward.”