Pope acknowledges 2000-case backlog in sex abuse cases

Mural of saintly pope kissing devilish Trump appears in Rome

Mural of saintly pope kissing devilish Trump appears in Rome

In 2000, the Vatican said it was a prediction of the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul on May 13, the same day of the first reported apparition in 1917.

"I think he will say what he thinks", noted the pope, who is scheduled to meet Trump on May 24, mid-way through his first trip overseas as president after visiting Saudi Arabia and Israel and prior to taking part in a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels and a G-7 summit in Italy. "I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened".

The Pope said that the new president deserved to be judged by his actions, not by "prophecies" of what he may or may not do. "In Fatima, I was immersed in the prayer of the holy faithful people, a prayer that flows there for a hundred years as a river, to beg Mary's maternal protection on the whole world", he went on.

Despite his personal doubts, the pope said that the "spiritual and pastoral facts can not be denied: People go there and convert, people who find God, who change their lives". "I prefer to wait and see". Pope Francis added two Portuguese shepherd children to the roster of Catholic saints Saturday, honoring young siblings whose reported visions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago turned the Portuguese farm town of Fatima into one of the world's most important Catholic shrines.

Once again, the Pope deftly parried the attack, counseling bridge-building rather than throwing up a wall. "Look for the doors that at least are a little bit open, enter and speak about things held in common and go forward, step by step", the pope said.

"There are always doors that aren't closed", Francis said. "Step by step, peace is crafted each day", he added. Respect for the other, saying what one thinks, but with respect, walking together... "Let us remember with gratitude and affection all moms, even our moms in heaven, trusting them to Mary, the mother of Jesus", he said, concluding with a moment of silent prayer for mothers. "I will say what I think, he will say what he thinks, but I never, ever, wanted to make a judgment without hearing the person", he said.

"I think he will say what he thinks", the Argentine pontiff said.

Despite Lavanga's portrayal of the two leaders as polar opposites, in point of fact, the Pope and the President have a fair amount of common ground to build on-arguably more than if Hillary Clinton had been elected.

The pope's meeting with Trump could be potentially awkward given their diametrically opposed positions on immigration, refugees and climate change, which he told reporters on the plane "are well known". "Can a good Catholic vote for this man?" one reporter asked the pope.

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