Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump could be meeting each other as early as May when Trump visits Italy for the G7 summit. Creative Commons

A meeting between Pope Francis and Donald Trump might be on the horizon

  • February 7, 2017

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis could be meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at as early as the end of May.

British newspaper, The Tablet, citing diplomatic sources, said the two will meet during President Trump’s visit to Italy for the G7 summit of world leaders meeting, which is being held in Taorima, Sicily May 26-27. This will mark the first time Trump is meeting the Pope. The two leaders have publically clashed with each other in the past over issues such as immigration and refugees.

During a Feb. 18, 2016 in-flight press conference, Pope Francis answered a question regarding then-presidential candidate Trump's stance on immigration by saying that it is un-Christian to keep immigrants out of one's country with a wall

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel,” the Pope said.

One week prior, Trump had bashed Pope Francis as a “pawn” for the Mexican government and “a very political person” who does not understand the problems of the United States.

In his first days in office, President Trump has signed a series of contentious executive orders, including fufilling his promise to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. He also signed a order temporarily halting visa permissions from seven Muslim majority countries and restrict refugee resettlement. 

The U.S. bishops, as well as other Catholic leaders, have responded critically to those actions.

The Pope has made refugee assistance a key focus of his papacy and has temporarily named himself head of the refugee and migration section of the new Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development.

Father Michael Czerny, secretary of the dicastery, told CNA that the Holy See plans for the U.S. bishops to be its first line of communication and engagement with the U.S. government on immigration and refugee issues.

“They’re responding very well,” Fr. Czerny said of the bishops. “And for the moment, they’re the people to listen to on this issue.”

One position that the new president has in common with the Catholic Church is in regards to life issues. While President Trump previously favored legal abortion, as a candidate he campaigned on promises he would support pro-life policy goals and he re-instated a policy barring federal funds for overseas organizations that promote or perform abortion.

Although President Trump was a deeply controversial presidential candidate, his surprise victory in November took place with significant Catholic support.

(Story from the Catholic News Agency)

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