Pres. Trump’s Message for Ash Wednesday

Did you all see the Ash Wednesday Message from Pres. Trump?

Office of the Press Secretary
February 26, 2020
Presidential Message on Ash Wednesday, 2020

Melania and I wish everyone observing Ash Wednesday a peaceful and prayerful day.

For Catholics and many other Christians, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season that concludes with the joyful celebration of Easter Sunday. Today, millions of Christians will be marked on their foreheads with the sign of the cross. The imposition of ashes is an invitation to spend time during Lent fasting, praying, and engaging in acts of charity. This powerful and sacred tradition reminds us of our shared mortality, Christ’s saving love, and the need to repent and accept the Gospel more fully.

We join in prayer with everyone observing this holy day and wish you a prayerful Lenten journey. May you grow closer to God in your faith during this blessed season.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. JTH says:

    Here’s to hoping and praying President Trump’s conversion to the Catholic faith occurs soon.

  2. Ms. M-S says:

    On reading this entry and the following one, it occurred to me that it’s good to monitor our assumptions about who our friends are.

  3. Kathleen10 says:

    A perfect explanation of why he is hated with a vicious and venomous hate.
    God bless and keep our president, his family, and administration.

  4. teomatteo says:

    Spoken like a bishop. …ah…. full stop.

  5. ArthurH says:

    When WILL our prelates and clergy wake up to the reality that this flawed-but-good man as president is the best firmed persons of faith have had in that office. Some faith-based organizations realize all that he has done for the common good, esp for those here and elsewhere increasingly persecuted and variously harassed for their faith and the actions that spring from that faith.

    Here is a list of such actions by Trump they prepared:

  6. veritas vincit says:

    I object to characterizing Trump as a “flawed-but-good-man”. In terms of his public actions (of course, without judging the state of his soul), Donald Trump, who while as President has done many good things from a Christian standpoint, especially in his judicial appointments but also in his pro-life actions, nevertheless does not give a good Christian witness, from his 3 marriages and bragging about his sexual conquests, to his bullying and intemperate public actions on Twitter and elsewhere.

    I suspect this Ash Wednesday message was prompted by Melania, who was raised Catholic.

    Hopefully Melania is still in good standing as a Catholic. That would of course, depend on whether or not Donald Trump’s 2 previous marriages were declared null by a Catholic tribunal, and when whether or not their marriage received a proper dispensation of form to be married in an Episcopalian church.

    Having said all of that, I join JTH in praying for Donald Trump’s conversion (and Melania’s as needed).

  7. Unwilling says:

    I wonder what Pope Francis said on same date.

  8. scoot says:

    I’m a simple man. I really appreciate this message. Christian holidays get swept under the rug sometimes, and after having a President proclaim Ramadan and Yom Kippur, at least lets give lip service to Christians in equal measure. Not in any way to denigrate the substance of his message: It is a good and true message and I personally am glad he gave it. I see nothing here to be unhappy about.

  9. Semper Gumby says:

    God bless Pres. Trump and First Lady Melania.

  10. Markus says:

    There appears to be a lot of stones being cast as this Lenten Season begins…

  11. Nell says:


    President Obama issued statements on Ash Wednesday, starting in 2010; see here:

  12. scoot says:

    Good! I hope every President makes statements on Ash Wednesday. I think President Trumps statement is particularly good.

  13. Legisperitus says:

    Don’t think I used Google yesterday, but I imagine they probably had a doodle of some minor Marxist agitator or other on Ash Wednesday, as they tend to do on Easter Sunday.

  14. Semper Gumby says:

    Also of note is that the Obama administration sued the Little Sisters of the Poor. For the Trump administration, see ArthurH’s link. There is a significant difference.

  15. Fr. Kelly says:

    I just checked out the link that Nell gave.
    Barack Obama did issue annual statements on Ash Wednesday. They average between 2 and 3 sentences each and don’t vary much from year to year. President Trump’s statement is much more encouraging.

    To me it is interesting that President Trump’s statement is not on that website yet. If it weren’t for Fr. Z and some of the other Catholic bloggers, I would not know about it yet.

  16. Fr_Sotelo says:

    I agree with veritas vincit. Trump’s past includes three marriages and vulgar words and behavior. His present behavior is full of bullying and ridiculing of his enemies.

    However, in his defense, the president seems to have had a change of heart–toward being a responsible husband and dad. Is it possible that he can be credited now, with living family life in earnest?

    And as far as the public behavior towards his enemies (real or perceived), I would offer that we live in a time where the president has to be militant (and maybe even harsh).

    How is a president to defend himself effectively? The present attacks against the president by modern media are as vicious as always, but they reach the public instantly through social media. To an extent, it’s understandable that Trump hits back fast and hits hard. Before the media and internet stage, he’s not in a fight between gentlemen, but in a street brawl.

    His bullying is distasteful. But it also shows his enemies that he will strike immediately, when struck. He thus projects to others in the modern information age, that he is unafraid and capable of handling himself.

    In our present culture, this elicits confidence from his followers. Yes, in different times, the president could be more genteel. However, we don’t live in those times and Trump has to do what he can to stop a completely secularist takeover of our country.

  17. Fr. Kelly says:

    I hear over and over again that president Trump “bullies” people with Tweets on Twitter.
    I don’t see how.
    The Main Stream Media regularly refuses to carry his messages. He uses Twitter who regularly censors him by limiting his followers. Their track record on Conservative users shows that they would shut him down completely if they thought they could get away with it.
    He is standing up to bullies on our behalf. In my book, that does not count as bullying.

    What I don’t understand is how a post about the wonderful statement that our president made in support of Catholics and other Christians as we enter the Holy season of Lent and commemorate Ash Wednesday became an opportunity to attack him personally and politically. Let’s be grateful for the good that he does, and not attack him at every opportunity.

  18. robtbrown says:

    I don’t think that Trump is any more of a bully than Obama or most other Presidents. The difference is that Trump does it himself . Other administrations have done it behind the scenes, using underlings to do the dirty work while the President plays innocent. The Dems have long been known for using the tools of government to attack political opposition, with IRS audits and harassment lawsuits. There were also efforts to use the FCC to mitigate the Limbaugh effect.

    There is also the use of the “main stream” press, slipping stories to them. The Post is not so influential now, but it has for years been inclined to ignore the antics of liberal pols while criticizing conservatives for the same behavior.

  19. surritter says:

    @veritas vincit — Of course. But you might as well have said that we all need conversion.

  20. veritas vincit says:

    I fear my point was missed by many and needs clarifying. I was only pointing out (in response to a comment about trump being a “good man”) that despite his many good actions, including his excellent Ash Wednesday statement, he has visible shortcomings that we all need to keep in mind (separate from the need for conversion we all share).

    Since Obama was mentioned, he is a good contrast. Barack Obama has an exemplary personal life but bad policies as President. Donald Trump is the opposite in both respects. Saying so, for anyone aware that Trump is simply God’s instrument, a case of “drawing straight with crooked lines,” is nothing more than stating (I hope) the obvious.

    I hope everyone had a good Ash Wednesday to start off Lent. Thanks to Father Z for all his prayers for his benefactors during his Holy Land pilgrimage.

  21. Fr. Kelly says:

    veritas vincit: I don’t want the point of the post to be lost. But

    But if you think President Obama’s personal life is exemplary, I fear you are sorely misled. His track record in Illinois is well known to those of us who have lived there and experienced his underhanded machinations. Look into his background in Community Organizing, Especially ACORN. Look into the manner in which he won his Illinois senate seat, and his US Senate Seat and the way he sold his US Senate Seat and left the Governor holding the bag.

    Again, I don’t understand the rush to condemn our current president and then to give that other one a pass.

  22. veritas vincit says:

    Obama’s family life is indeed exemplary. That was what I referred to, not anything Obama did, before or during his Presidency. And pointing out our current President’s significant character flaws, is neither to condemn him nor to downplay the many good things he has done, any more than mentioning Obama’s personal life gives him a pass for anything he did.

  23. Markus says:

    veritas vincit,

    “Obama’s family life is indeed exemplary.” Especially his support of Planned Parenthood. Especially his choice of “churches” and “reverends” for his family.
    The only “exemplary” person to walk the earth was Christ. It appears not too many others.

  24. Semper Gumby says:

    Great points by Fr. Kelly, Scoot and others.

    A few more points re Obama’s behavior: used the IRS against conservatives, used government resources against certain reporters, handed more than a billion dollars to the terror regime in Iran, protected several corrupt high-ranking government officials, stirred up racial animosity, distanced himself from several of his relatives, fear-mongered about “global warming” then purchased a beach house. That’s enough, several other personal details will not be mentioned here. Strident assertions that Obama’s behavior, public or private, is “exemplary” are without merit.

    Returning to the topic of this post. God bless Pres. Trump and First Lady Melania.

  25. veritas vincit says:

    My friends, it seems we are talking past each other. So let’s thank God for the good President Trump has done, keep him and Melania in prayer and agree to disagree on anything else.

  26. Percusio says:

    When I think of the present situation and the comparisons of the presidency of Obama vs. Trump, accepting any “personal flaws”, I look at the greater picture of the example of King Cyrus and the return of the Jews. As our Lord prophesied to show that He is in power, He stated that the future return of the Jews would be secured and that He would not do this through a faithful Jew but as through one who was their “enemy”. Equating Obama and Trump as being the one who would offer greater hope for religious freedom, one must say unequivocally that Trump offers the greatest hope for the restoration of our homeland toward Christianity, at least, and hopefully a greater return to the Catholic Church. Under Obama, persecution of the Catholic Church resulted and continues to happen even to nuns. Under Trump the Church has greater freedom to proclaim the Truth. We pray for Trump and his wife rather than look at a “gift horse in the mouth” as does the ungrateful “veritas vincit”.

  27. Fr. Kelly says:

    Veritas vincit this is not a case of talking past each other, or agreeing to disagree.
    You held up Obama as an exemplary family man while attacking President Trump. I don’t want to go on about him, but you brought him into it the truth needs to be said. Obama is not a good example for a family man to follow.

    During his first presidential campaign in 2008, to explain his opposition to chastity education he said, “Look, I got two daughters — 9 years old and 6 years old,” he said. “I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby. I don’t want them punished with an STD at age 16, so it doesn’t make sense to not give them information.”
    In response to a heartfelt plea to “stop these abortions” at the end of his speech he said “This is a very difficult issue, and I understand sort of the passions on both sides of the issue. I have two precious daughters — they are miracles. But politicians must trust women to make the right decisions for themselves. This is an example where good people can disagree.”
    His girls were onstage with him when he said it.

    Let’s be grateful for what we have and not look back longingly upon the leeks and cucumbers of Egypt.

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