Pope Francis said on Saturday he would be “sincere” with United States President Donald Trump over their sharp differences on subjects such as immigration and climate change when the two hold their first meeting at the Vatican later this month.
“There are always doors that are not closed. We must look for the doors that are at least partly open, go in, talk about the things in common and go forward, step by step. Peace is artisanal, you work on it every day, ” the pope told reporters aboard a plane returning from Portugal.
“It’s an everyday task, respect for the other, to say what one thinks, but with respect, walking together. (Even if) one thinks in one way, the other in another, but we have to be very sincere about what each one thinks.”
The pope also told reporters that he would keep an open mind and not pass judgement on Trump until first listening to his views at their meeting on May 24.
Last year, in response to an answer about then-candidate Trump’s views on immigration and his intention to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, Francis said a man with such views was “not Christian”.
“I never make a judgement about a person without listening to them. I don’t think I should do that. During our talks things will come out, I will say what I think and he will say what he thinks but I have never, never wanted to judge a person before hearing what they have to say,” the Pope said.
The pope also told journalists the group advising him on how to root out sex abuse in the Catholic Church had been slowly making progress when a leading member quit in March this year.
The sudden departure of Marie Collins, an outspoken Irish woman who was the last remaining survivor of priestly abuse on a Holy See commission, was a major setback for the pope, who has faced criticism of not doing enough to tackle the problem.
The work of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, set up by Francis in March 2014, has been slowed down by internal disputes and Collins blamed the Vatican’s administration, known as the Curia, for the “constant setbacks”.
Closing his visit to Fatima to mark the 100th anniversary of the appearance of “Our Lady of Fatima”, the pope was also asked about reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje.
Francis said further study needed to be carried out into the original Medjugorje apparitions but that there were some doubts over ongoing apparitions.
Source: Channels TV