Pope Francis issues thinly veiled rebuke of Donald Trump's Mexico border wall

'A Christian would never say ‘you will pay for that.’ Never,' says pontiff 

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The Independent US

Pope Francis has issued a thinly veiled rebuke of Donald Trump’s cornerstone policy to build a wall along the border with Mexico.

The pontiff did not refer to the US President by name or directly mention his plan to build a fence along the border but instead emphasised the need to forge bridges rather than walls.

In a weekly address on Wednesday at the Vatican, Pope Francis said a Christian would never under any circumstance say “you will pay for that”.

This appears to be a direct reference to Mr Trump’s insistence the Mexican government pays for the estimated $15bn 1,000-mile long border fence – a demand which has been outrightly rejected by Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto.

“In the social and civil context as well, I appeal not to create walls but to build bridges,” Pope Francis told the audience. 

“To not respond to evil with evil. To defeat evil with good, the offence with forgiveness. A Christian would never say ‘you will pay for that.’ Never.”

“That is not a Christian gesture. An offence you overcome with forgiveness. To live in peace with everyone.”

Pope Francis might also have been alluding to President Trump’s hard-line immigration ban which has banned people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering America. The executive order, which sparked outrage and chaos in airports across the world, has now been overturned by a federal judge.

This is by no means the first time the Pope has issued a plea to build bridges instead of walls. After the billionaire property developer announced he would deport millions of undocumented migrants and build a wall along the border between Mexico and the US, Pope Francis condemned the idea of building a wall. A year ago, he told reporters aboard the papal plane returning from Mexico to Rome anyone keen to build a wall “is not a Christian”.

Mr Trump issued a stern response, saying: “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful.”

The Vatican later explained the comments had not been intended as a personal attack on Mr Trump.

The pontiff made the most recent remarks about bridge-building at his weekly address. The speech coincided with the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking and the feast day of Sudanese immigrant Saint Josephine Margaret Bakhita.