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Pope's Comments On Trump Not A Personal Attack, Vatican Spokesman Says

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 19/02/2016 Paige Lavender

VATICAN CITY, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Pope Francis's suggestion that Donald Trump was "not Christian" because of his views on immigration was not a personal attack on the U.S. Republican presidential candidate, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said on Friday.

Lombardi told Vatican Radio that the pope's comments, made to reporters during a flight back from Mexico in response to a specific question on Trump, were simply an affirmation of his long-standing belief that migrants should be helped rather than shut off behind walls.

"In no way was this a personal attack, nor an indication of how to vote," Lombardi said. 

Trump, the longtime Republican party front-runner in opinion polls, dismissed the pope as "disgraceful" for questioning his faith. He has said that if elected president in November, he would build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to keep out immigrants who enter illegally.

Lombardi said the pope believed people "should build bridges, not walls." He added: "This is his general view, which is very consistent with courageously following the indications of the gospel on offering welcome and solidarity." (Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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