An Aleteia translation of these three questions from the official Vatican transcript of the pope’s inflight press conference
What did Pope Francis really say about US President Donald Trump?
Claudio Lavagna [NBC (USA)]
Holy Father, hello. Yesterday you asked the faithful to knock down all walls. And yet, on May 24 you will meet with a Head of State who is threatening to build walls. It is somewhat opposed to your word. But he also, it seems, has opinions and makes decisions different than your own on other matters; for example, on the need to act regarding global warming, or on welcoming migrants. On the eve of this meeting, what is your opinion of the policies President Trump has adopted on these matters up to now? And what do you expect from a meeting with a Head of State who seems to think and act contrary to you?
But, the first question is — but may I respond to both — I never make a judgment about a person without listening to them. I believe that I shouldn’t do this. Things will come up as we talk: I will say what I think; he will say what he thinks. But I never, I have never wanted to make a judgment without listening to a person. And the second is what I think …
… what do you think, in particular, about matters like welcoming migrants…
But you are well aware of this!
The second is: what do you expect from a meeting with a Head of State whose thinking about it is opposed to yours?
There are always doors that are not closed. One needs to look for the doors that are at least a little open, enter in and speak about common matters, and go forward. Step by step. Peace is a craft: it is made day by day. Friendship among people, getting to know one another, and esteem are also a craft: they are fashioned each day. Respect for the other, saying what one thinks but with respect, walking together … Someone thinks about it in a certain way: say that, be very sincere in what each person thinks.
Do you think he will soften his decisions afterward?
This is a political calculation that I do not allow myself to make. Even on the religious level, I am not one to proselytize. Thank you.