Trump to meet Pope Francis for first time

What happened?

The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will meet President Trump later this month. Trump will visit Israel and Saudi Arabia before going to the Vatican, then on to Brussels for a Nato summit and then Sicily for a G7 meeting.

The papal audience will take place at 8.30am on a Wednesday, “squeezed in”, said Reuters, before the Pope’s weekly general audience. A few days earlier, Francis had said that he was not aware of any request from Trump for a meeting.

What the British media are saying

The Press focused on what Newsweek called the “short-but-rocky relationship” between the two leaders. It quoted the Pope’s apparent allusion to Trump’s planned Mexican wall: “A person who thinks only about building walls … and not building bridges, is not Christian.” Trump responded: “No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith.”

The Independent said that “things might get awkward when the blustering American president and the soft-spoken pontiff touch base”, citing their differences over immigration and climate change. Francis released an encyclical “calling on Christians to protect the planet”, it noted, while Trump “openly mocked climate change”, even saying it was “a hoax created by China”.

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