Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush, the White House contender who can’t quite seem to gain traction against Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson, came out with a fawning statement about Pope Francis, calling the pontiff is a widely read CNN op-ed: He’s a huge boon for “the persecuted” and downtrodden.

“Millions of American Catholics, like me, are excited that Pope Francis is making his first journey to the United States,” he wrote. “In our Holy Father, we have a model of personal holiness and deep concern for the most vulnerable among us.”

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Bush said the pope served to motivate others to speak for those with timid and silenced voices.

“He reminds us to speak out for the persecuted, advocate for the unborn, comfort the afflicted and welcome the stranger,” he wrote.

Not all would agree. Conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh have spoken critically of the pope’s embrace of climate-change policy and seeming denouncement of capitalism.

But to Bush, the pope’s influence in America was all positive.

“I hope Pope Francis’ visit to the United States is a powerful reminder that in a country as great and diverse as ours, we can protect religious freedom and the right of conscience while respecting those with opposing views,” he said. “The church that Francis leads never tires of proclaiming the dignity of all people – a truth that is also at the heart of our form of government that pledges liberty and justice for all.”

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Bush also said he’s personally “witnessed the power of God, through his church, to touch lives and transform the world,” globally and personally, “in my own heart,” he wrote.

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