This headline, as seen throughout the media, is bogus. Pope Francis never said that. He said, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the gospel.”
Francis is right. The pope is known as the supreme pontiff. A pontiff is one who builds bridges. By his very title, he is the supreme bridge-builder, and, as Christians, we are all called to tear down walls, and build bridges. Bridges bond; walls separate. This point of transcendent togetherness was the pope’s intent. If Mr.Trump assigns this to himself, that’s his concern, for every Republican candidate states he wants to build a wall. As for the pope, he, as the vicar of Christ, has the solemn obligation to discourage wall-building and encourage bridge-building. Come to think of it, don’t we, including Mr. Trump, share also that obligation.
Walls serve little purpose. The Berlin wall, today’s Jerusalem wall-all walls isolate. Can walls serve a worthy purpose? Of course, but if the builder were to spend her/his money nourishing, educating, and providing on the other side of the proposed wall, perhaps, the wall would never need to be built.
Can you imagine Christ building a wall to keep people out? Certainly not! This is why the Holy Father cried out for bridge-builders. Building walls is unchristian! True Christians build bridges! There’s your challenge, Mr. Trump, and there’s our challenge. For him and for all of us to build bridges demands true courage and not just bravado.