Pope Francis Encourages Donald Trump to Focus on 'the Poor and the Outcast'

The newly-sworn in president got a message from the Vatican after his inauguration ceremony

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Keeping with tradition, Pope Francis has sent a message to the newly sworn-in president, Donald Trump — and encouraged him to use concern for the poor and less fortunate as a guiding force of his administration.

“At a time when our human family is beset by grave humanitarian crises demanding farsighted and united political responses, I pray that your decisions will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people and your nation’s commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide,” he wrote in a 159-word telegram, according to CruxNow,

The Pope continued by saying that he hopes Trump will “be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door.”

He finished the telegram by wishing Trump and his family “his blessing of peace, concord and every material and spiritual prosperity.”

Over the decades, it has been an unofficial tradition for the sitting Pope to write to the newly inaugurated president. Pope Benedict XVI wrote to President Barack Obama back in 2009, and Pope John Paul II wrote to President George W. Bush in 2001.

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Trump had tension with the Pope on the campaign trail. The pontiff once said that Trump was “not a Christian” due to his comments about building a wall on the Mexican border — though he never said that Catholics should not vote for Trump.

“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,” he said. “I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that.”

Trump hit back at the Pope’s statement, and said that no one should question someone’s faith.

“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,” Trump said. “No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith.”

He continued: “During this election year, the American people can take Pope Francis’ advice and build bridges, or heed the advice of Donald Trump and build walls. If Francis is right, all walls eventually crumble.”

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