Pope Francis has criticized U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump for his proposed plans to build a wall on the border with Mexico, saying that someone who builds walls instead of bridges “is not Christian.”
Speaking with journalists during a flight from Mexico to Rome, the pontiff declined to say whether Americans should vote for Trump in the upcoming election, but said his proposals to curb illegal-immigration into the United States are “not the gospel.”
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not a Christian. This is not the gospel,” the pope said. “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. I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that.”
The comments immediately prompted a rebuttal from Trump, who called the pontiff “disgraceful” for questioning a person’s faith. “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,” he said.
Trump added: “No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith. They (the Mexicans) 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.”
Trump added that the pope had only heard “one side of the story” and said the Islamic State would have been “eradicated” if he were president. “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,” he said.
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