Pope Francis said he was willing to tell U.S. President Donald Trump in person that it is wrong to build border walls and appeared to warn him not to resume a policy of separating families.
In a wide-ranging television interview with Mexico’s Televisa aired on Tuesday, the pope also shrugged off criticism from ultra-conservative Roman Catholics who call him a heretic.
Francis, who has clashed with Trump before on migration issues, discussed the situation at the U.S.-Mexican border with veteran Vatican reporter Valentina Alazraki, who is Mexican.
“I don’t know what’s happening with this new culture of defending territories by building walls. We already knew one, that (one) in Berlin, which brought so many headaches and so much suffering,” he said.
“Separating children from their parents goes against natural law, and those Christians … you can’t do it. It is cruel. It is among the greatest of cruelties. And to defend what? Territory, or the economy of a country or who knows what,” he said, adding that such policies were “very sad”.
Asked if he would tell Trump the same thing to his face if the president were sitting opposite him instead of the reporter, Francis said: “The same. The same because I say it publicly … I have even said that those who build walls end up being prisoners of the walls they build.”