En route to his high-walled city-state after a multi-day tour of Mexico, where he held a “cross-border” Mass near the U.S.-Mexico border and denounced the evils of capitalism, Pope Francis told reporters that anyone who wants to build a wall on the border is not a Christian.
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel,” said Pope Francis in response to being told that Donald Trump plans to build a wall at the border to stop the influx of illegal immigrants and expel those living in the country illegally.
“As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that,” the Pope continued. “I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.”
Francis has made clear where he stands on the issue of illegal immigration. In his much-quoted speech on the National Mall in September, the Pope framed the issue of illegal immigration in moral terms.
“Thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities,” he said. “Is this not what we want for our own children? We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'”
He has not commented on the moral implications of lax immigration policies and border security that invite people to make the dangerous trek through Central America only to find themselves hiding in the shadows the rest of their lives.
Though perhaps the Pope was not aware of it, his comment has officially confirmed a Pope-Trump public feud, as just last week Trump criticized the Pope for his comments on American immigration policies.
“I think that the Pope is a very political person,” Trump told Fox News Business last week. “I think he doesn’t understand the problems our country has. I don’t think he understands the danger of the open border that we have with Mexico. And I think Mexico got him to do it because Mexico wants to keep the border just the way it is because they’re making a fortune and we’re losing.”
Update: After Donald Trump heard about the Pope’s comments, he fired back Thursday — and hard. Here’s part of Trump’s blistering response:
If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened. ISIS would have been eradicated unlike what is happening now with our all talk, no action politicians.
The Mexican government and its leadership has made many disparaging remarks about me to the Pope, because they want to continue to rip off the United States, both on trade and at the border, and they understand I am totally wise to them. The Pope only heard one side of the story – he didn’t see the crime, the drug trafficking and the negative economic impact the current policies have on the United States. He doesn’t see how Mexican leadership is outsmarting President Obama and our leadership in every aspect of negotiation.
For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian and as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now, with our current President. No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith. They are using the Pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so, especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant.
And here’s a nice shot of one of those huge walls surrounding the Vatican (h/t Ben Shapiro):