Trump-Pope Feud: The Vatican Has A Wall, Strict Immigration Policy

Robert Jonathan

The rhetorical "holy war" between Pope Francis and Donald Trump, while perhaps damaging to the latter, may open the Vatican to a charge of hypocrisy in the way the papal enclave in Rome is administered.

Flying home from a visit to Mexico City, the Pope seemed to be leveling criticism at the GOP presidential front-runner when he said, "a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian."

Apparently, Trump had earlier chided the Pope for allowing Mexico to use him for political purposes by holding a Mass at the southern border, according to the Daily Beast.

Based on humanitarian concerns, which is certainly understandable for a spiritual leader such as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis seems generally to be in favor of open borders for undocumented immigrants and Syrian refugees.

Although his views generally don't fit neatly into any particular ideological category, Pope Francis enjoys worldwide rock-star popularity since he became the Bishop of Rome in March 2013 for his acts of compassion, open-mindedness, outreach efforts, willingness to challenge conventional wisdom, and for his modest personal lifestyle.

As one of his key campaign promises, Donald Trump has vowed to build a "beautiful" wall at the U.S.-Mexico border to control illegal immigration and crimes such as drug trafficking. He has also called for a temporary shutdown of Muslim immigration from overseas to the U.S.

When appraised of Pope Francis's comments, Trump fired back immediately during a rally and with a lengthy statement on his website.

That aside, it turns out that Vatican City is to this day entirely surrounded by huge walls, which were built by Pope Leo IV starting in the year 847 A.D. to prevent Arab invaders from plundering the city-state as they did the year before.

"The Vatican, for its part, welcomes millions of visitors a year — but allows only a very select few, who meet strict criteria, to be admitted as residents or citizens. Only about 450 of its 800 or so residents actually hold citizenship, according to a 2012 study by the Library of Congress. That study said citizens are either church cardinals who reside in the Vatican, the Holy See's diplomats around the world, and those who have to reside in the city because of their jobs, such as the Swiss Guard. Spouses and children who live in the city because of their relationship with citizens — including the Swiss Guard and workers such as the gardener — have also been granted citizenship. But that means few of the Vatican's citizens are women."

Trump has made a series of outrageous and controversial statements since he began his presidential campaign at the Trump Tower in June 2015, yet his poll numbers -- at least to this point -- continue to rise.

Watch Donald Trump react to the Pope's statements.

"...The Mexican government and its leadership has made many disparaging remarks about me to the Pope, because they want to continue to rip off the United States, both on trade and at the border, and they understand I am totally wise to them. The Pope only heard one side of the story -- he didn't see the crime, the drug trafficking and the negative economic impact the current policies have on the United States. He doesn't see how Mexican leadership is outsmarting President Obama and our leadership in every aspect of negotiation..."

In the CNN clip below, South Carolina Pastor Mark Burns defends Donald Trump in the dispute with Pope Francis.

[Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP)