CNN reporter Bill Weir appeared on New Day Thursday morning, ahead of the premiere of the network's documentary series, Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History. Weir had just compiled a report focusing on Pope Francis and Syrian refugees and, along with co-hosts Alisyn Camerota and Chris Cuomo, seemed to agree that the seriesprovided the perfect platform to advocate for open borders.
For years, the secular cosmopolitans in the Democratic Party and the media have tried to paint the leaders of the Catholic Church as rigid and out-of-touch. With Pope Francis, they have taken a different approach. Weir referred to the pontiff as “the most liberal pope in recent memory, on the environment, on income inequality and on one topic which is literally tearing Europe apart, countries apart and tearing families apart here in the United States.”
The reporter then played some clips from his recent trip to the Vatican, where he highlighted a group of Syrian refugees taking up shelter in the Holy See. Weir contrasted Francis’s approach to refugees with that of Italian politician Matteo Salvini, whom he referred to as “the Trump-inspired politician who vowed to round up migrants and segregate Muslims, saw a surge of support in the recent election.”
Weir closed his package from the Vatican with an editorial lamenting the rise of populism worldwide, saying “Francis has tackled so much in his first five years but opening hearts in a world of closing borders may be the biggest faith project of all.”
A discussion continued between Weir, Cuomo and Camerota in the studio. Weir brought up a “small passionate minority of conservatives who really do not like him. They think he might be a heretic based on him softening the rules on gay marriage or priests getting married.” The left engages in quite a bit of wishful thinking when it comes to Pope Francis dramatically altering thousands of years of Catholic Church teaching, much like they do when it comes to the impeachment of President Trump.
Cuomo then went on to say that Francis’s argument that “being pro-life means you don’t split up families in the name of immigration policy” would be a “tough sell in the United States.” Weir, who apparently sees himself as an amateur theologian, said that the feelings about immigration policy differ between Evangelicals and Catholics, adding “Catholics think, you know, the right-to-life doesn’t end once the baby squirts out.” Keep in mind that for liberals, the right to life doesn’t even begin until “the baby squirts out.”
Camerota added that “the Pope doesn’t look at the politics but sort of the more biblical messages of embrace the stranger, embrace the poor refugee?” Weir responded:“And by that logic, Jesus would not win elections in Italy or the United States today.”
For years, the media and the left have stressed the importance of the separation of church and state as they fought for laws legalizing abortion, gay marriage, and marijuana. It looks like they may have decided to make an exception to their self-imposed rule as they seek to create a “borderless world.”
CNN New Day
ALISYN CAMEROTA: CNN Has a new original series called “Pope: The Most Powerful Man in History.” It premieres on Sunday night. It explores how popes have influenced political, military and cultural events through the ages and CNN’s Bill Weir is just back from Vatican City where he got an inside look at how Pope Francis is responding to the Syrian refugee crisis. He joins us now. Great to have you here.
BILL WEIR: Hello friends.
CHRIS CUOMO: He’s got a holy glow to him.
WEIR: Yes, I got blessed. It was really impressive to see him, you know, bless people in person. You see the looks on their faces. Next week will be the five-year anniversary of his election. And few imagined back then that this would be the most liberal pope in recent memory, on the environment, on income inequality and on one topic which is literally tearing Europe apart, countries apart and tearing families apart here in the United States.
(Begin video clip)
WEIR: Even before day one, it was obvious that Francis would be different. They sent him a first class ticket to come to the papal election but he traded in for coach. While all the other Cardinals were arriving in limousines, he walked to the Vatican every day and though he could live in the finest room in the finest palace here, he chose a humble little abode inside the Vatican guest house. From this room, the first pope to name himself after the poorest saint planned an agenda for the neediest souls. You can see it in the form of the homeless sleeping under priceless Vatican frescoes, or when you knock on the door of an Archbishop and it is answered by a family of Syrian refugees. Days after Ghandi and Madeleine were married, she was kidnapped by ISIS. After ransom was paid by Syrian Christians, they were welcomed here by Roman Catholics.
(End video clip)
WEIR: Oh, Stella. You can’t cry. You don’t know. You’re the luckiest baby. You’re the luckiest baby in Italy.
(Begin video clip)
WEIR: Nearly every day, the Pope mentions the suffering in Syria. And on a visit to a refugee camp, he even brought a dozen Muslims home.
(End video clip)
WEIR: So many people lose their lives trying to leave Syria. Some are taken advantage of by traffickers. You ended up on the Pope’s plane.
NOUR ESSA, SYRIAN REFUGEE (via Translator): “It’s fantastic”, Nour says. “He’s a real human being, an example to leaders of all religions.”
WEIR: Has he tried to convert you?
(Begin video clip)
WEIR: But despite his example, Mateo Salvini, the Trump-inspired politician who vowed to round up migrants and segregate Muslims, saw a surge of support in the recent election.
THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, BREITBART ROME BUREAU CHIEF: They do listen to the pope when he says you should be Christian and welcome the stranger but they also see a situation where you reach a critical mass and you say we don’t know how much more of this we can do.
WEIR: The Pope said recently, if you split up families because of immigration, you can’t be pro-life.
SISTER NORMA PIMENTEL: That’s right.
WEIR: You agree with that?
WEIR: Sister Norma works on the Texas-Mexico border and says this Pope is her model for how to treat everyone who crosses it.
PIMENTEL: We feel encouraged that we are doing the right thing. That his presence, his words, his message is a sense of strength for us.
WEIR: Francis has tackled so much in his first five years but opening hearts in a world of closing borders may be the biggest faith project of all.
(End video clip)
WEIR: Francis is largely popular within the church, even among different countries, different parts of the world. But there is this small passionate minority of conservatives who really do not like him. They think he might be a heretic based on him softening the rules on gay marriage or priests getting married. And then there’s those who worry he’s a socialist from South America who wants to impose this open border Venezuela model on the rest of the world so the dynamic, to see it in the Vatican, was really interesting.
CUOMO: And he’s had some American Catholics who have pushed on him that he hasn’t taken on enough things.
CUOMO: He was in a tough spot. Maybe that’s why he didn’t want this job the first time around, as the story goes but in terms of the dedication to this principle that was just laid out by the nun there. Being pro-life means you don’t split up families in the name of immigration policy. That’s going to be a tough sell in the United States.
WEIR: It is a tough sell, which is, you know, the feeling about this is very different from Evangelicals to Catholics. Catholics think, you know, the right-to-life doesn’t end once the baby squirts out, you know, and that you should take care of...
CUOMO: The medical term.
WEIR: ...all the way through. Whereas, you know anti-death penalty and pro-immigration, those sorts of things. It does depend country by country. But the, you know, your religion, your faith, the rubber meets the road when a, you know, 50 immigrants from a completely different culture move in next door and suddenly, everybody at the grocery store is wearing Burqas and speaking a different language. You know, that tension, we feel it in this country, we feel it around the world, that I think is the story of where civilization is headed, you know, in this century.
CAMEROTA: I mean, and is it fair to say that the Pope doesn’t look at the politics but sort of the more biblical messages of embrace the stranger, embrace the poor refugee?
WEIR: Right. And by that logic, Jesus would not win elections in Italy or the United States today. You know what I mean? It’s, and that’s what I found so fascinating. He has such adoration and such fidelity from the faithful but when they go to the ballot box, it’s a different decision.
CUOMO: Yeah, and it’s another good point, Bill. I mean, look at the elections they just had in Italy and what ethos went over there; not the one the Pope is espousing. Boy, we have the right storyteller on this at the right time.