Pope Francis believes Donald Trump “is not Christian” because his immigration views consist of building walls instead of bridges, as he said late Wednesday night.

The GOP front-runner, who is planning to deport undocumented immigrants and build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, responded in a statement by calling the pope “disgraceful”.

During a flight back to Rome after a six-day visit to Mexico, Pope Francis told a reporter aboard the papal airliner that he was not going to get involved in Americans’ voting intentions, but he did remark that a man who discriminated immigrants could not be following the steps of Jesus Christ.

Photo: Tony Gentile / Reuters
Photo: Tony Gentile / Reuters

“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”, said Trump.

The Republican added that no leader should be allowed to question another man’s faith and stated that Francis would have wished and prayed he would have been president when the Vatican is hit by ISIS. Trump said everyone knew the Vatican City was the terrorist group’s ultimate trophy.

What other leaders said about Trump’s dispute with the pope

The dispute between the politician and the pope marked the final days before the South Carolina primary. Senator Marco Rubio was careful to keep in the middle of both leaders, as he expressed deep admiration for Pope Francis by referring to him as “the holy father” and also remarked the importance of enforcing immigration laws to keep the United States safe.

Rubio pointed out that the country had the right to control who comes in, as well as when and how they come in, just like the Vatican City applies its rules. Rick Tyler, a spokesman for Senator Ted Cruz, decided to avoid getting involved in the conflict.

Some commentators suggested on social media that Trump, who is Presbyterian, could have a chance to win over evangelicals who distrust the pope’s views. Others remarked that Francis’ comments about Trump reflected his hypocrisy, given that the Vatican City itself is surrounded by a wall.

Jeb Bush, a Catholic who has criticized Trump on many aspects, said he did not question anybody’s faith because that was a personal relationship people had with their creator.

On the other hand, Christopher Hale, executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, told People he defended Pope Francis because Trump’s views on immigration represented a total offense against the gospel.

Source: New York Times