Pope Francis said Thursday that Donald Trump's desire to build border walls is not in line with the gospel, and renders the billionaire "not Christian."
"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian
," Pope Francis said Thursday when a reporter asked him about Trump. "This is not in the Gospel."
"I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that," Francis added. "We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt."
The comments sent shockwaves through the American political system, and drew new international scrutiny to the presidential race.
Gathered below are five other times a sitting pope has stirred political controversy in the U.S.
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1. Pope Francis gets political during address to Congress
— "If the Pope stuck to standard Christian theology, I would be the first in line," Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, wrote
in announcing he would boycott the pope's address to Congress in Sept. 2015. "Media reports indicate His Holiness instead intends to focus the brunt of his speech on climate change — a climate that has been changing since first created in Genesis. More troubling is the fact that this climate change talk has adopted all of the socialist talking points." The pope did talk about climate change during his address to Congress, among other politically-charged subject matter that irked many conservatives.
2. Pope Francis visits nuns suing Obama over birth control
— "Pope Francis made an unscheduled visit to a convent of the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order that is suing the Obama administration over its birth control rules on employers," The Washington Times reported
in Sept. 2015. "Although Pope Francis has focused on climate change — an issue dear to President Obama — during his U.S. tour, his visit with the Little Sisters made it clear that he would push back at the administration over its birth control mandate."
3. Pope Benedict XVI condemns Obama's abortion stance
— "Pope Benedict XVI stressed the church's opposition to abortion and stem cell research in his first meeting with President Barack Obama on Friday, pressing the Vatican's case with the U.S. leader who is already under fire on those issues from some conservative Catholics and bishops back home," The Huffington Post reported
in July 2009.
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4. Pope John Paul II rebukes Iraq War during Bush Visit
— "At President George W. Bush's last meeting with John Paul, at the Vatican in June 2004, he presented the pope with the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor," Deseret News reported
. "The pontiff responded by reading a statement about his 'grave concern' over events in Iraq, where the U.S.-led war had been going on for just over a year."
5. Pope John Paul II condemns President Clinton's abortion stance
— "If you want equal justice for all and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend life," the pope told Clinton while visiting the U.S. in 1993 for an international Catholic youth festival, The Washington Post reported
. "All the great causes that are yours today will have meaning only to the extent that you guarantee the right to life and protect the human person." It would not be the last time the two would clash over abortion, as they had an open disagreement about the issue a year later at a United Nations summit in Cairo.
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