Pope Praises Trump for Kim Jong-Un Meet: A Path to Peace for the Whole World
'I salute the protagonists,' Pope Francis declares during Sunday prayer at the Vatican
Pope Francis has praised President Donald Trump's historic meeting with Kim Jong-Un on North Korean soil this weekend, marking the moment as a pathway to peace for "the whole world."
Speaking during his traditional Angelus prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican on Sunday, Francis spoke of the importance of the meeting, saying "I salute the protagonists."
The pope said the surprise meeting between Trump and North Korea’s leader is an example of the “culture of encounter” that he often touts himself.
“In the last few hours we have witnessed a good example of the culture of encounter in Korea,” Francis said on Sunday.
“I salute the protagonists, with the prayer that this significant gesture may constitute a further step in the path of peace, not only on that peninsula but in the whole world,” the pope declared, referring to the two heads of state.
According to Breitbart, President Trump stepped over the low stone curb that separates the two Koreas just before 4:00 pm local time, making history by becoming the first sitting U.S. president to enter North Korea.
The pope has often been portrayed as anti-Trump, following the pontiff’s suggestion during the campaign in 2016 that anyone who thinks of building walls rather than bridges is “no Christian.”
In the last few years, journalists have occasionally tried to lure the pope into criticizing the U.S. president but Francis has generally managed to avoid this minefield, saying that he is always willing to give Mr. Trump the benefit of the doubt.
The May 2017 meeting between the pope and Trump in the Vatican was an unqualified success, much to the chagrin of Trump-hating journalists and pundits who wished the visit to end in disaster.
In its official press release, the Vatican described the meeting as “cordial” and said the two men spoke favorably of “the good existing bilateral relations between the Holy See and the United States of America.”
The statement added that the pair share a joint commitment “in favor of life, religious liberty and freedom of conscience.”
That being said, the pope has occasionally criticized the U.S. president, often in an oblique way but sometimes more directly.
In May of this year, Francis compared Trump’s border wall between the U.S. and Mexico to the Berlin Wall built in 1961 to keep East Germans from escaping into West Berlin.
The Berlin Wall reference was a curious comment given that he is the ruler of the only completely walled-in country in the world.
One of the buzzwords of the Francis pontificate has been the “culture of encounter.”
The expression signifies the pope’s conviction that meeting people and working to find common ground is often more effective than focusing exclusively or primarily on differences.