The Pope And President: Unpredictable Pair Finally Meet

After meeting with Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia and visiting sacred sites in Jerusalem, President Donald Trump's tour of world religions concluded Wednesday at the Vatican, the Catholic Church's holy headquarters. There, at the Apostolic Palace, Trump met with Pope Francis -- finally.
It's a meeting millions have been waiting for, an encounter between two of the world's most intriguing and complex characters: The holy man in white who preaches good news to the poor and the brash businessman in the dark suit who embodies American extravagance. After months of talking -- and tweeting -- past one another, and a very public spat over international borders, the Pope and President met at last, with nary a barrier between them.
A boxing promoter might have been tempted to call it the "Sistine Showdown." Churchmen, alas, offer more sober sobriquets. "It will be a meeting without 'walls,'" said the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, a close associate of the Pope and the editor of the Jesuit journal Civilta Cattolica. Walls, of course, were the subject of their famous feud.
Shortly after celebrating a large outdoor Mass at the Mexican border last year, Francis said that people who think only of building barriers instead of bridges are "not Christian." Trump dismissed the comments as "disgraceful" and called the Pope a pawn of the Mexican government. It was catnip to a culture that thrives on conflict: A politician and Pope sparring in the middle of a heated presidential election. But neither man seemed eager to continue the clash. The Vatican said Francis' comments were "not a personal attack," and Trump said he "doesn't like fighting with the Pope."
Still, the Pope continued to condemn Trump-like political rhetoric, even if he never named Trump himself. The day before the presidential election, he warned Christians not to be tempted by "the false security of physical or social walls."
"Dear brothers and sisters," he said, "all walls fall. All of them. Do not be fooled." After the election, several of Francis' closest American allies picked up the Pope's banner, sounding ready to lead an anti-Trump resistance.

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