In his highly anticipated new exhortation The Joy of Love, Pope Francis urges us Catholics to journey with those in irregular relationships and appreciate the good things they can represent.
“I understand those who prefer a more rigorous pastoral care which leaves no room for confusion,” he writes. “But I sincerely believe that Jesus wants a church attentive to the goodness which the Holy Spirit sows in the midst of human weakness.”
So let me start by attending to Donald J. Trump.
As my regular readers know, I am no fan of Trump’s — indeed, I fall somewhere between #probablyNeverTrump and #NeverTrump on the Republican spectrum. But let me nevertheless say a good word for Trump-family values.
It is true that Trump has discarded two wives, cheated on at least one of them, and (as I have) made a child out of wedlock. But he then married the woman who bore that child, however briefly. He has always supported all of his children financially, unlike many unmarried or irregularly married fathers. And he has managed to create and maintain close relationships with those children despite the barriers to fatherhood imposed by divorce.
They, in turn, are the best part of Donald J. Trump: educated, hardworking, productive, and (in the case of Ivana’s kids, at least) all married with children themselves.
Trump did a lot of things right as a divorced dad. All his older children report feeling he was always available to them if they needed him. He didn’t spend a lot of time with his young kids, but he succeeded in letting them know that they mattered to him. And most important of all, he fostered their bonds with their mothers.
Ivana Trump deserves the lion’s share of credit for raising her three impressive older children with Trump, since she had full custody after the divorce. But she gives him credit for having her back along the way:
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe.