Alessandra Tarantino/AP

Though he didn't name the president, Pope Francis made a reference to Trump's controversial travel ban

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February 09, 2017 12:48 PM

Pope Francis‘s criticism of President Donald Trump continues.

During a weekly address on Wednesday, the Pope did not name Trump, but made an undeniable reference to his controversial travel ban, an executive order barring entry to the United States for citizens of seven Muslim majority countries. He encouraged people to “build bridges” and combat the bad in the world with good.

“In the social and civil context as well, I appeal not to create walls, but to build bridges,” he said, according to the AP. “To not respond to evil with evil. To defeat evil with good, the offense with forgiveness.”

Catholic leaders in the United States, including Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, and Cardinal Joseph Tobin, archbishop of Newark, criticized the ban or the withholding of funds from sanctuary cities as well, according to The Washington Post. Cupich called it a “dark moment in U.S. history.”

His most pointed remark towards Trump came when he made a reference to Trump’s claims that Mexico would pay for the much-disputed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“A Christian would never say ‘you will pay for that,’ ” he said. “Never. That is not a Christian gesture. An offense you overcome with forgiveness. To live in peace with everyone.”

Trump has had a wrought relationship with the Pope since before his election. Francis previously criticized Trump’s proposal to build a wall, and implied that he is “not Christian” in February of last year.

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel.”

Francis did send Trump his well wishes on his inauguration day, and encouraged him to focus his attention on “the poor and outcast.”

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