Vatican City, May 4, 2017 / 09:47 am (CNA/EWTN News).- President Donald Trump will meet Pope Francis during a visit to the Vatican later this month. “His Holiness Pope Francis will receive the Hon. Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, on Wednesday, 24 May 2017, at 8:30 a.m. in the Apostolic Palace,” the Vatican announced Wednesday. “President Trump will then meet with His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.”
The president and the pope have sometimes been put at odds. During a Feb. 18, 2016 in-flight press conference, Reuters reporter Philip Pullella asked the Pope to respond to Donald Trump’s immigration stand. Pope Francis answered: “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 pontiff added he would “give the benefit of the doubt” to the political candidate.
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. Holy See spokesman Father Federico Lombardi on Feb. 19 told Vatican Radio that the Pope’s comment “was never intended to be, in any way, a personal attack or an indication of how to vote” and had repeated a longstanding theme of his papacy, bridge-building.
The U.S. bishops have had a mixed response to the early days of the Trump administration, criticizing his refugee and immigration plan, while praising his pro-life measures.