"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel," the Pope told journalists who asked his opinion on Trump's proposals to halt illegal immigration.
Trump immediately fired back, calling Francis' comments "disgraceful.""No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man's religion or faith," he said in statement. Trump added that the government in Mexico, where Francis spent the past five days, has "made many disparaging remarks about me to the Pope." (qtd. from http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/18/politics/pope-francis-trump-christian-wall/index.html)
Let's examine both statements, shall we? First, Pope Francis' statement that a person who thinks only about building walls... is not Christian." Mr. Trump is not "only" thinking about building a wall, he's also thinking about illegal immigration and also LEGAL immigration. Trump does not oppose anyone coming to the United States LEGALLY, "the wall" is to keep ILLEGALS out - AND - provide a means of vetting those who seek entrance to the United States via the southern border. "Fences (walls) make good neighbors," have you ever heard that? When you know your boundaries you know how far you can go without offending your neighbor. So, what about those who live behind huge walls? Make note:And that wall totally surrounds the Vatican City/State:
If walls make someone "not Christian" then should we be expecting the Vatican to tear down THEIR wall? OR - do we believe that "wall" provides a level of security for the pope and the "nation" which is the Vatican? Common sense points to the latter.
Now, how about what Mr. Trump said? "No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man's religion or faith." Well, we need to remind Mr. Trump, "freedom of speech" is something he will be sworn to defend and uphold if he is elected president. The pope, or any leader, religious or otherwise, has the "right" to question whatsoever they choose to question. The leader of the largest Christian organization on Earth certainly has the "right" to offer his opinion on how Christian, or lack thereof, another is. From the Christian perspective, a man is justified (or judged) according to his faith which is shown through his works. (James 2:22-24) So, in Trump's defense, he has not yet built a wall nor has he implemented any sort of immigration reform - when and IF he does (IF he is elected) THEN we'll have something to judge. Back to the point of this paragraph - the pope certainly DOES have the "right" to say or question anything he chooses - especially if we base that upon the United States Constitution and Amendments.
Both Sides Make Amends
Within a day of the initial comments, both sides are playing down the situation:
Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi said: "the pope's comments, which were denounced by Trump, were simply an affirmation of his longstanding belief that migrants should be helped and welcomed rather than shut off behind walls.'This wasn't in any way a personal attack, nor an indication of who to vote for,' Lombardi said.'The Pope has clearly said he didn't want to get involved in the electoral campaign in the US, and also said that he said what he said on the basis of what he was told [about Trump], hence giving him the benefit of the doubt.'The Pope was great. He made a beautiful statement this morning,' he told a capacity crowd at the Myrtle Beach Sports Center, 'They had him convinced that illegal immigration is, like, a wonderful thing!' Trump exclaimed, referring to Mexico's government.