Catholic Archbishop Slams Trump's Visit to DC Shrine

He calls it 'baffling and reprehensible'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2020 4:00 PM CDT
Archbishop Slams Trump's 'Reprehensible' Shrine Visit
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump visit Saint John Paul II National Shrine, Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Trump has now angered two Washington, DC religious leaders in two days. Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory slammed the president Tuesday ahead of the Trump's visit to the Saint John Paul II Shrine, the Washington Post reports. "I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people, even those with whom we might disagree," the Catholic archbishop said. On Monday, the Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, DC's Episcopal bishop, said she was "outraged" by Trump speaking in front of St. John's Church after police had used tear gas to clear peaceful protesters from the area.

"Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth," Gregory said. "He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter, or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace." During Tuesday's shrine visit, the president and first lady Melania Trump, who identifies as a Catholic, posed for photos in front of a statue of the former pope. They stood facing the statue for a few minutes but did not make remarks, USA Today reports. On the way to the site in northeast DC, the presidential motorcade passed dozens of protesters holding signs with messages including "God is not a prop" and "Trump mocks Christ." (More President Trump stories.)

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