VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Cardinal Raymond Burke, in a new interview, calls Trump's election "the will of the people."
Burke told Catholic journalist Edward Pentin the day after the election that "the American people have awoken to the really serious situation in which the country finds itself with regard to the common good, whether it be the protection of human life itself, the integrity of marriage and the family or religious liberty."
He indicated the election of a political outsider like Trump shows "our political leaders need to listen more carefully to the people and ... return to those fundamental principles that safeguard the common good that were so clearly enunciated at the foundation of the country in the Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution."
Trump is not Catholic, but Burke said the president-elect's comments on pro-life issues, religious freedom and family issues show "a great disposition to hear the Church on these matters" and an openness to understanding them as matters of moral law and not merely as religious opinion.
In September Trump promised to defund Planned Parenthood, nominate pro-life justices to the Supreme Court, end late-term abortions and make the Hyde Amendment permanent — a law that blocks taxpayers from funding elective abortions.
When asked if Trump means what he said, Burke responded, "Of course, after any election, this is the big question. ... We have to hope and pray that he does that." He also noted that he knows Trump appointed 34 Catholic advisers during his campaign, calling it "a hopeful sign."
Burke also observed that Trump has shown support for things that violate Catholic teaching. "But on these objectionable issues, when one votes in conscience for a candidate with whom one doesn't share all the same moral principles, but certainly very important ones," Burke clarified, "then one makes clear his or her objections on positions that the candidate may have that are not correct."
"But I think a Catholic could, in good conscience, vote for Donald Trump because, in all that he said, at least there was a hope of advancing in some way the common good of the nation," he added.
Regarding Trump's divergence from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on immigration, Burke noted that immigration must be done responsibly and that a country's responsibility first belongs to its citizens:
A Christian cannot close his heart to a true refugee, this is an absolute principle, there's no question about it, but it should be done with prudence and true charity. Charity is always intelligent; it demands to know: Exactly who are these immigrants? Are they really refugees, and what communities can sustain them?
Pope Francis echoed the same sentiments on his recent flight back from Sweden when he said, "There is also a political price to pay when imprudent calculations are made and a country takes in more than it can integrate."
Regarding the allegations of divisiveness, Burke believes Trump will make efforts to unify the country, but notes that unity must be based on a "solid foundation" of moral principles. "So I believe that he will do that," the cardinal commented. "I mean, you have to imagine, he's not a stupid man; he realizes that it's one thing to run for president, but it's another thing to become the president, and that will certainly be in his mind — the heavy responsibility that he has, that's on his shoulders."