The first meeting between the Pope and President Donald Trump may take place at the end of May, when the US president travels to Italy for a summit of world leaders.
According to diplomatic sources, Mr Trump will meet Francis during
The G7 leaders are gathering in Sicily and the White House
confirmed that the president would attend the meeting.
Officially, the Holy See are not commenting on when the Pope will
meet Trump, but Vatican insiders say that the 26 - 27 May summit in
Taormina presents an opportunity for them to see each other.
The logic of a Trump-Francis meeting in May is backed up by the fact
that both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush used G8 summits in
Italy as ways to have their first meetings with pontiffs.
“This visit gives the president an opportunity to meet the Pope,” one
diplomatic source explained. “And if he came to Italy without seeing
Francis it would be seen as a snub, particularly given their earlier
clashes over migration. Trump also sees that wherever you sit on the
political spectrum attacking the papacy isn’t wise.”
Whenever the meeting does take place there will be tensions, given
that the Pope and the president have already had a public row.
Francis said the Republican candidate was “not Christian” for planning
to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico while in a recent
interview the Pope warned against populist saviours that can result in
The Vatican also criticised the president’s travel ban on people from
Iran, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen entering the United
States and the plan to limit the numbers of refugees entering the
Nevertheless, comparisons have also been drawn between the Pope and
Donald Trump as two populist leaders shaking up their respective
institutions by taking a message directly to the people.
Populists can also prove to be divisive, with opposition to the Pope
coming out into the open in Rome over the weekend when anti-Francis
posters were put up across the city. It is the believed to be one of the
first times that public protests against the Pope have been seen in the
Eternal City since the fall of the papal states in the nineteenth
Outside of Rome, however, Francis is seen increasingly as a global
leader of progressive causes due to his concerns for migrants,
inequality and climate change and his frequent calls for a compassionate