President Donald Trump met with Pope Francis for the first time since the friction between them began in February. The Pope’s opinion on walls to keep people out is well known, as is the president’s, both of which have very different stances on this security measure despite there being a wall around the Vatican where the Pope lives. When Trump arrived there, cameras were rolling when a camera caught with Francis thought had secretly done.
During the heat of the border wall debate three months ago, the Pope publicly responded to the president’s insistence on reducing illegals at the border by saying that we should not be “focused on building walls.” It’s an ironic thing for a man to say who is protected by one on a daily basis. In typical Trump style, he responded with, “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful.”
On Wednesday, the two met for the first time in a short, seemingly private 30 minute meeting with just the two of them surrounded by a select few political and religious leaders. “Francis welcomed Trump to the Apostolic Palace, where he goes only for official occasions, as the pontiff resides in the Vatican guesthouse rather than the Papal Apartments,” Rare reports. “According to Reuters reporter Philip Pullella, who covers the Vatican, the air between the two was tense before the media was ushered out, and when they emerged, Pullella wrote, ‘both men looked far more relaxed’.”
During the course of their conversation, the Pope was gracious in extending an olive branch – literally – to Trump who he’s had disagreements with. The gift wasn’t to represent making amends with America’s leader over this immigration dispute, but for the president to promote peace.
“It is my desire that you become an olive tree to construct peace,” Pope Francis reportedly said to Trump through a translator. The president graciously replied with just four words: “We can use peace.” However, the gift giving didn’t end there – the Pope had three more things of very specific meaning he gave to the president.
Before Trump landed in Italy, he made a couple stops in the Middle East where he established incredible peace efforts to such an extent that Palestinian President Abbas called him “The Man of Peace.” This is certainly something that the Pope took notice of and respects about our president, which inspired the three holy gifts he gave to Trump on arrival:
An Emblem of Peace Molded into a beautiful plaque
A message of Peace for Trump a.k.a. – “The Man of Peace”A selection of bible and words to express and share love of the Gospel
A selection of bible and words to express and share love of the Gospel
Giving three gifts was perhaps symbolic of the Biblical story of the Three Wisemen who brought Joseph and Mary three gifts when Jesus was born. Whether this was intentional or coincidence is something only the Pope can say for sure, but the “peace offering,” as it seems, was incredible none the less. Trump didn’t just receive, he too came prepared with something for the Pope which he gave in response to what he was given.
“In return, Trump gave Pope Francis a set of first edition books by Martin Luther King Jr. The new president also seemed humbled by his meeting with the 80-year-old Franciscan, reportedly pausing at the door and saying, ‘Thank you, thank you. I won’t forget what you said.’ On Wednesday, President Trump even changed the cover photo on his Twitter profile to an image of him and Pope Francis.”
This is what true diplomacy and a mutual respect look like, which Trump has been accused of not being capable of either from his naysayers on the left. It’s because of this clearly cordial visit that Holy See released a statement which said in part, “It is hoped that there may be serene collaboration between the [Vatican] and the Catholic Church of the United States, engaged in service […] to healthcare, education and assistance to immigrants.”
Trump is a man of faith, despite those without any belief system questioning him on his. He exudes warmth and compassion when it counts but also exudes power in his role as President of the United States that has not gone unnoticed by foreign dignitaries, including the Pope those in the Middle East who have a newfound respect for him after this successful trip so far.
Whether liberals like it or want to accept it or not, Trump is changing the world in ways that his predecessor did not and could not and it’s time to accept this fact.