Pope Francis implied to the world on Thursday that Donald Trump is not a Christian.
Trump called the statement “disgraceful.”
After the Pope visited the Mexican-American border, he fielded questions from reporters. One question turned to the presidential frontrunner. His Holiness didn’t hold back.
“Can a good Catholic vote for this man?” he was asked by a reporter.
Pope Francis started by addressing word of Trump’s accusation that Mexico was using the pontiff as a political pawn. Here is what he said via a translator:
Thank god he said I was a politician, because Aristotle defined the human person as animal politicus so at least I’m a human person. As to whether I’m a pawn, well, maybe, I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to your judgment and that of the people. And then a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be located, and not building bridges, is not a Christian. This is not in the Gospel. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not a Christian if he has said things like that.
The Pope did not outright say Trump is not a Christian. Francis said he’d “give him the benefit of the doubt.” He clarified by saying, “this man is not Christian if he said it this way.”
Trump responded resolutely in a written and verbal statement:
In response to the Pope:
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.
Donald J. Trump