ROME, Italy, April 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis criticized governments who make border walls, saying, “He who builds a wall will become a prisoner of the wall he built.”
The comment came in response to a question at the Vatican from Spanish journalist Jordi Evole. After thanking the Pope for the “privilege” of the interview, Evole asked, “What do you think of the proposals of some presidents, such as Donald Trump, to raise up a wall between the United States and Mexico to avoid the wave of migrants?”
The pope answered, “He who builds a wall ends up a prisoner of the wall he built. That’s a universal law. That is what happens on the social and the personal levels. If you build up a wall between people, you will end up a prisoner of the wall you raised up.”
Apparently responding to critics advocating for national sovereignty who say “‘Yes, but I am defending my autonomy,’” the Pope answered, “‘You’re defining yourself as mushroom.’ He’s a prisoner.”
“The alternative,” the Pope said, “is building bridges.” Referring to a novel “The Bridge on the Drina,” the Pope paraphrased Croatian author Ivo Andric to say bridges “are God’s inventions. They are the wings of the angels that God created to connect men with mountains and to cross rivers, so that people can communicate with each other.” Walls, he said, impede communication.
Separately, during his press conference on the papal jet Sunday while returning from Morocco, the Pope doubled down on building walls. Referring to his visit to the Muslim-majority nation, he said there is sadness “when we see people who prefer to build walls. Why do we feel sad? Because those who build walls will end up being prisoners of the walls they build. Instead, those who build bridges will go forward. Building bridges, for me, is something that goes almost beyond human because it takes great effort.”
Earlier this year, President Trump noted the hypocrisy of the Pope for criticizing nations that want to defend their sovereignty while maintaining a wall around the Vatican where he lives that is guarded by the famous Swiss guards who prevent people from straying into the Pope’s residence.
“When they say the wall’s immoral, well then, you got to do something about the Vatican, because the Vatican has the biggest wall of them all,” Trump said, reported The Hill.
Francis has remarked in the past about border walls. During Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, the pope suggested that the candidate was “not Christian.” The Pope said, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” adding, “This is not the Gospel.”
The Pope was visiting Morocco while pro-life Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini was addressing the World Congress of Families in Italy. Salvini spoke on Saturday, telling delegates, “We are not here to suppress anybody's rights.”
The Pope has not yet met with Salvini, Italy’s minister of migration affairs, who is also the leader of the pro-life nationalist League party.
“The feminists that speak of women's rights and are the first to pretend to not see what is the first, only and major, real danger in 2019 for rights, social achievements, freedom to work, study, speak, study, dress as you like and it's not the World Family Congress, it's Islamic extremism, a culture where the woman's value is less than zero,” Salvini told conferees in Verona.
“The woman gets covered with a burka, the woman doesn't have to leave the house, the woman shouldn't wear a miniskirt, and if she dresses too western, thinks too western or becomes too western, (they) beat her up. Not from the dangerous extremists of the Family Congress.”
Italian Minister for Family Lorenzo Fontana has blamed same-sex “marriage,” mass migration, and gender studies for what he called the “cancellation of our people” and the weakening of family life. Criticizing EU officials who suggest that the low birthrate and aging population of the continent necessitates immigration, he said, “For us,” he said, “an aging Europe needs a new generation of children.”
The World Congress of Families was founded in 1997 by American Brian Brown and has held an annual meeting since 2012. Citing its purpose to “affirm, celebrate, and defend the natural family as the only fundamental and sustainable unit of society,” the group has held meetings in Hungary, where it garnered support from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Asked by journalists on Sunday to comment on Salvini and the League’s immigration plank, the Pope said, “Italian politics, I don’t understand.”