Thursday, Pope Francis became embattled in the Republican race with President. On the flight back to Vatican, after his historic and politically charged visit to Mexico including an outdoor Mass celebrated at the Mexican-United States border, Pope Francis was asked out Republican candidate Donald Trump’s immigration plans which include building a wall to contain the United States from the illegal influx of immigrants. The Pope was asked about a number of subjects but it is the Trump question that has left the greatest impression.
Pope Francis said of the Trump’s idea to build a wall between the United States and Mexico as “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.” Continuing the Pope said the stopping the influx of refugees with a wall, “this is not in the Gospel. “Continuing on the subject of Donald Trump, the Pope was asked about a remark that Trump made where he accused the Pontiff of being as a political pawn by the Mexican government. Pope Francis replied, “Aristotle defined human person as ‘animal politicus.’ So at least I am human person.” Pope Francis stopped short of answering whether or not American Catholics should vote for someone with Trump’s views. “I am not going to get involved in that,” he said. “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.”
Trump, who is leading the other Republican candidates ahead of the South Carolina primary on February 20th, was quick to respond to the Pope’s criticism. He replied in a statement, “”No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith,” and that, “I am proud to be a Christian, and as president I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened.” Trump’s spokesman also pointed out that the Pope actually lives behind a wall that surround Vatican City. Dan Scavino, tweeted the image of the Vatican City by satellite showing the massive walls, “amazing comments from the Pope- considering Vatican City is 100% surrounded by massive walls.”
Trump went on to say in his press release that Pope had been used by the Mexican government in his trip, that 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.” Trump also said of the Pope, “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.”