The Vatican’s top diplomat, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has congratulated President-elect Donald Trump but offered his prayers that the new United States’ leader will work for the world’s peace and well-being.
“First of all we take note with respect the will expressed by the American people in this exercise in democracy,” the Holy See’s Secretary of State told Vatican Radio. “And we congratulate the new president and hope his governance may be truly fruitful.”
He went on: “We assure him of our prayers, for the lord to illuminate and sustain him in the service of his country, but also in the service to the well-being and peace of the world.”
In his remarks Parolin stressed the need for all countries to work to change in the world which, he explained, is suffering from “grave wounds” and “grave conflicts.”
The news of Trump’s victory has not been received well in Rome: Pope Francis has clashed with the President-elect making an unprecedented direct criticism of Trump for his plans to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
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“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,” Francis said back in February in answer to a journalists question when returning from a visit to Mexico. “This is not the gospel.”
The remarks led to a fiery response from Trump who said the Pope was “disgraceful” for attacking his personal faith - while Francis later signalled support for left-wing candidate Bernie Sanders, by meeting the Democrat presidential hopeful in the Vatican.
When asked about the president-elect’s plan to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, Cardinal Parolin said it was “premature to give judgments” and the Vatican was adopting a wait and see approach.