The media is likely to focus on the areas where Trump and Pope Francis differ strongly, like his views on Islam and immigration. But the National Catholic Register notes that “they could be great, but unlikely, partners” if they focus on areas of possible agreement — like the plight of Christians in the Middle East.
Pope Francis and President Donald Trump will meet May 24 in the Vatican. And while Holy See watchers debate the possible topics and tone of their private conversation, it was the Holy Father who offered a clue on his own plans for engaging the new U.S. president, who has already crossed swords with the Church leader on immigration and climate change.
“Always, there are doors that are not closed. Look for the doors that are at least a little bit open, enter and talk about common things, and go on — step by step,” said Pope Francis in response to a reporter’s question during a May 13 news conference on his return flight from Fatima.
If Francis adheres to his plan to find a tiny opening in the shared concerns of two unorthodox heads of state, Catholics may expect the Pope and president to tackle a number of looming crises, from the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program and the plight of persecuted Christians in the Middle East to the stalled Israel-Palestinian Authority peace talks and Venezuela’s precipitous downward spiral.
The U.S. and key Asian allies are openly debating military action against North Korea as it continues to conduct test flights of intercontinental ballistic missiles that could strike its neighbors, and, soon, perhaps California. But the Pope has called for a more intensive campaign of diplomacy and urged the United Nations to take a stronger position.
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