Pope Francis doubled down on his criticism of President Donald Trump’s longtime promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, while ignoring the wall surrounding Vatican City.
“In the social and civil context as well, I appeal not to create walls but to build bridges,” the pope said Wednesday from within the walled enclave of Vatican City.
“To not respond to evil with evil. To defeat evil with good, the offense with forgiveness. A Christian would never say ‘you will pay for that.’ Never,” the pope continued, in what was clearly a message for Trump.
The Vatican, a 110-acre papal state in the heart of Rome, is surrounded by massive walls that stretch 40 feet into the sky. The walls, measuring approximately 2 miles in length, were built starting in the 800s.
Pope Leo IV first ordered the construction of a wall to protect the the Holy See in 846.
The pope first criticized Trump during the Republican primaries, suggesting in February, 2016, Trump may not be a Christian.
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” the pope told reporters who asked him about Trump’s immigration policy proposals.
Trump reacted by calling the pope’s comments disgraceful.
“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith,” Trump said at the time.
Dan Scavino Jr., the Trump campaign social media director, tweeted a picture of the Vatican at the time, highlighting the wall that surrounds the complex.
Amazing comments from the Pope- considering Vatican City is 100% surrounded by massive walls. pic.twitter.com/g3iVLDVGe5
— Dan Scavino Jr. (@DanScavino) February 18, 2016
Francis and Trump are set to meet during the president’s visit to Italy in May, according to the British Catholic newspaper, The Tablet. The newspaper, citing diplomatic sources, reported the two will meet while Trump is at the G7 Summit May 26-27 in Taorima, Sicily.
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