Pope and Donald J. Trump

As the author of this site, I want to bring to your attention that in the past, the Vatican State, "the Pope" have never been so open as to involving themselves publicly and in the news giving their opinion and meeting with foreign leaders to persuade political direction towards a One World Government and all the fingers of control that are involved in this process!
Trump: It's 'Disgraceful' for Pope to Question My Christianity

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reads from a statement about Pope Francis during a campaign rally in Kiawah, South Carolina, February 17, 2016. JIM WATSON / AFP - Getty Images

Feb. 19, 2016, 1:54 AM CST / Updated Feb. 19, 2016, 1:54 AM CST
By Andrew Rafferty and Ali Vitali

Donald Trump issued a blistering response to Pope Francis on Thursday, saying it is “disgraceful” for the Catholic leader to question his faith and calling the pontiff “a pawn” for the Mexican government.

“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith,” Trump said at a rally in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. A press release followed shortly after he read the statement at the podium.

Moments before Trump’s rally was set to begin, Francis told reporters, "A person who only thinks about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”

Building a wall on the United States' southern border is one of the main tenets of Trump's candidacy.

The pope's comments came during his flight back to Rome after a six-day visit to Mexico. Trump, who told a crowd of supporters that he “liked the pope” before learning of the statements, said the Mexican government manipulated Francis.

Trump Takes Aim at Pope Francis on Campaign Trail    Feb. 19, 2016 - 01:39

“They are using the pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so, especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant,” Trump said. The real-estate mogul said Francis has only heard “one side of the story” and does not see the problems caused in the U.S. by illegal immigration.

Trump’s Social Media Director took to Twitter to call out his perceived hypocrisy of the pope calling Trump out for wanting to build a wall when the Vatican is surrounded by them.

"If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS's ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president,” Trump added.

During his comments, however, the pope said he was not trying to influence Americans on who they should vote for, adding only that “this man is not Christian if he has said things like that."

Francis remains wildly popular among Catholics, who make up about a quarter of the general electorate. A CNN/ORC Poll released ahead of the pope’s visit to the United State last September found that nearly three-quarters of Catholics held a positive view of Francis.

Other Catholic Republican presidential candidates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have found themselves at odds with Pope Francis over immigration and climate change. However, both have attempted to make clear they disagree with some of his ideas while showing respect for the leader of the Catholic church.

Trump, who is not Catholic, did not take such a measured response.

“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian,” Trump said.

Trump however, who is currently leading in South Carolina, has repeatedly questioned Ted Cruz’s Christianity. Days earlier he tweeted: "How can Ted Cruz be an Evangelical Christian when he lies so much and is so dishonest?"

Image: Image:Andrew Rafferty

Andrew Rafferty has been a political reporter for NBCNews.com since 2013. Rafferty writes and reports on politics for the web, and shoots and produces video for all NBC platforms. 

Prior to joining NBCNews.com, Rafferty was a campaign reporter covering the 2012 presidential election. Rafferty was on the road for both the Republican primaries and general election, providing content for both the web and television. 

Rafferty began at NBC News through a fellowship at "Meet The Press." 

He is from Buffalo, N.Y., and attended John Carroll University in Ohio.

Image: Ali Vitali
Ali Vitali

Ali Vitali is a political reporter for NBC News, based in Washington.



Pope Francis Meets Mahmoud Abbas, Head of Palestinian Authority, Ahead of Talks

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas (left) talks with Pope Francis (right) during a private audience at the Vatican on Saturday.GIUSEPPE LAMI / AFP - Getty Images

Jan. 14, 2017, 9:42 PM CST / Updated Jan. 15, 2017, 4:39 PM CST
By Claudio Lavanga and Don Melvin

VATICAN CITY — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Pope Francis on Saturday before officially inaugurating the Palestinian embassy to the Holy See.

The official opening of the embassy is certain to rankle the Israeli government, which objects to any official recognition of a Palestinian state, and it comes on the eve of a key international conference on Middle East peace in Paris.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas (left) talks with Pope Francis (right) during a private audience at the Vatican on Saturday.GIUSEPPE LAMI / AFP - Getty Images

The embassy, in a building owned by the Holy See, has been operational at least since October. Nevertheless, Saturday's ceremony will highlight the Vatican's recognition of Palestine as an independent country.

In their talks, which lasted 23 minutes, Abbas and Francis appeared to look ahead to Sunday's international peace conference.

According to the Vatican, the discussion between the two "turned to the peace process in the Middle East, and hope was expressed that direct negotiations between the parties may be resumed to bring an end to the violence that causes unacceptable suffering to civilian populations, and to find a just and lasting solution."

Related: Vatican Accord With Palestinians Comes Into Effect

"To this end, it is hoped that, with the support of the international community, measures can be taken that favor mutual trust and contribute to creating a climate that permits courageous decisions to be made in favor of peace," the statement continued.

Relations between the Palestinians and the Vatican have strengthened in recent years.

In 2012 the Vatican welcomed the decision by the U.N. General Assembly to grant Palestine a “non-member observer state” status. In 2014, during his visit to Israel and the “State of Palestine” — as described in the itinerary published by the Holy See —
Francis defended the Palestinians' right to a "sovereign and independent" homeland.
And in 2015, the Vatican identified Palestine as a sovereign state in a signed agreementrecognizing freedom of religion in Palestine, outlining the rights and obligations of the Church there, and backing a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Saturday's meeting between the pope and Abbas was their third, and its timing was significant. In addition to taking place the day before the Paris conference, it also came less than a week before the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, who has supported relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — a move the Palestinians vehemently oppose and which runs counter to decades of policy.



Vatican Accord With Palestine Comes Into Effect

Pope Francis celebrates the solemnity of Mary the Mother of God mass and the celebration of the 49th World Day of Peace in Saint Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Jan. 1, 2016. GIUSEPPE LAMI / EPA

Jan. 3, 2016, 11:04 AM CST / Updated Jan. 3, 2016, 11:10 AM CST
By Reuters

MILAN — An agreement signed last year making the Vatican's de facto recognition of Palestine in 2012 official has come into effect, the Holy See said on Saturday.

The Vatican signed its first treaty with the "State of Palestine" last June when it called for moves to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and backed a two-state solution.

"... the Holy See and the State of Palestine have notified each other that the procedural requirements for (the accord's) entry into force have been fulfilled, the Vatican said in a statement on Saturday.
Pope Francis celebrates First Vespers and Te Deum in Saint Peter's Basilica, the rite of thanksgiving for the end of the year, celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City on Dec. 31, 2015.GIUSEPPE LAMI / EPA

The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution in 2012 recognizing Palestine as an observer non-member state. This was welcomed at the time by the Vatican, which has the same observer non-member status at the United Nations.

In October 2014, Sweden acknowledged Palestine, a decision that drew condemnation from Israel and led to tense relations between the two.

Israel has previously called the Vatican accord a hasty move that could damage prospects for advancing a peace agreement and impact its future diplomatic relations with the Vatican.

But the Holy See under Pope Francis is eager to have a greater diplomatic role in the Middle East, from where many Christians have fled because of conflicts in Syria, Iraq and other countries.

"The Agreement ... regards essential aspects of the life and activity of the Church in Palestine, while at the same time reaffirming the support for a negotiated and peaceful solution to the conflict in the region," the Vatican said.

Israel and the Palestinians, who are seeking a country of their own under what is known as the two-state solution, both claim Jerusalem as their capital. Successive U.S. administrations have said the status of Jerusalem — which Israel has declared its "united and eternal capital" but is home to sites sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians — must be negotiated.

Francis has urged Israel and the Palestinians to bridge their differences.

"May Israelis and Palestinians have the courage and the determination to write a new page of history, where hate and revenge give way to the will to build together a future of mutual understanding and harmony," Francis said in his Christmas address.

On Jan. 9, during his traditional New Year's greetings to the Holy See diplomatic corps, the pope renewed the Vatican's appeal for the resumption of dialogue toward “a stable and enduring solution that guarantees the peaceful coexistence of two states within internationally recognized borders.”

Claudio Lavanga

Claudio Lavanga is Rome-based producer and correspondent for NBC News.

Don Melvin