Pope Francis slammed Donald Trump and his policies without ever mentioning the U.S. president by name on Wednesday.
According to the Associated Press, the pontiff was marking the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita — a 19th century Sudanese refugee who immigrated to Europe and became a nun.
“In the social and civil context as well, I appeal not to create walls but to build bridges,” Francis said. “To not respond to evil with evil. To defeat evil with good, the offense with forgiveness. A Christian would never say ‘you will pay for that.’ Never.”
He continued, “That is not a Christian gesture. An offense you overcome with forgiveness. To live in peace with everyone.”
The remarks were part of Pope Francis’ Wednesday catechism, which the AP said is “dedicated to the general Christian precepts of hope and forgiveness in forging peace.”
Francis has been a vocal critic of Trump’s anti-refugee and anti-immigrant policies since the presidential campaign got underway in 2016. After Trump’s inauguration, the pope sent a letter to Trump at the White House urging him to shun conspiracy theories and be kind to the poor and disenfranchised.
I hope, Francis told the new president, “America’s stature [will] continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor.”
When asked in 2016 for his opinion on Donald Trump’s border wall plan, Francis replied that anyone who would conceive and execute such a plan is “not a Christian.”
White House senior aide Stephen K. Bannon is reportedly working with an ultra-conservative Catholic cardinal named Raymond Burke to undermine Francis and have him removed from the papacy. Their aim is to unseat Francis and replace him with an ultra-conservative pope who is less focused on the rights of the poor and refugees and more hostile to the Islamic faith.
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