On Wednesday President Trump was received by Pope Francis in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. The meeting is said to have gone extraordinarily well with many smiles and handshakes during the face-to-face. When the meeting ended the President reportedly said,
“I won’t forget what you said.”
During the meeting the Pope gave President Trump a copy if his writings as Pope which is customary tradition including a Medal of Peace. Some of those writings include his ‘Encyclical on Climate Change’. In exchange, the President gave the Pope a large blue box which allegedly contained Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. writings. The President told the Pope,
“I hope you like them.”
The meeting was supposedly a time for them to discuss a variety of different issues which included religious freedom, Christian persecution in the Middle East, job creation, international affairs, human trafficking, and immigration amongst other issues. The Vatican released an official press release about the meeting that lasted approximately thirty minutes.
The President brought his wife, as well as, daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
They described the meeting as cordial and one where both men spoke positively of,
“the good existing bilateral relations between the Holy See and the United States of America, as well as their joint commitment in favor of life, religious liberty and freedom of conscience.”
The statement also noted the,
“serene collaboration between the State and the Catholic Church in the United States, engaged in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education, and assistance to immigrants.”
With a conservative President now in office the Vatican could see themselves on the same page with the United States over the issues of abortion and religious freedom. Something they consistently found themselves at odds with the former administration about.
The Vatican noted that their discussion paid particular attention to,
“reference to the situation in the Middle East and the protection of Christian communities.”
Following the meeting the President and his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, visited and toured the Sistine Chapel as well as other local tourist spots. Later on in the trip the President met with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and said the following about his meeting with the head of the Catholic Church,
“He is something. We had a fantastic meeting. We’re liking Italy very, very much, and it was an honor to be with the pope.”
The meeting is also a positive step in the right direction considering the two leaders had not gotten off on the right foot previously. During the 2016 presidential election when the President discussed creating a border wall the Pope had said,
“I’d just say that this man is not Christian if he said it in this way. A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”
The President did not have a nice response either. He called Pope Francis disgraceful for questioning another person’s faith as a spiritual leader. However, their most recent meeting appears to have changed their sentiments for each other as it went very well by all reports. With the recent radical Islamic terrorist attack in Manchester, England it is more important now than ever to have another strong ally within the Christian community to combat these heinous terrorist attacks.
The President went out of his way to maintain a good relationship with Saudi Arabia. Which is the home of Mecca, the capital of the Muslim community; now he is in Vatican City bolstering support within the Christian community. As President, he understands their allegiance is extremely important and that we can beat ISIS only if we work together.