Washington, D.C. Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory slammed President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump's visit to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine on Tuesday in a statement.
“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,” Gregory wrote.
“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 added, concluding, “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.”
Gregory’s statement was made following Trump’s appearance in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday where he posed for a photo with a Bible.
Trump was criticized by many religious leaders for that photo op because military police cleared out protesters with tear gas prior to his arrival.
Episcopal Rev.Gini Gerbasi posted on Facebook that she was “driven off” the church’s patio by police for Trump’s “cheap political stunt.”
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