Trump tells Pope Francis: 'I won't forget what you said'

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Team Trump was due in Brussels on Wednesday afternoon for meetings with European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials before returning to Italy for the G7 summit in Sicily on Friday and Saturday.

Trump's visit to Rome is his third stop on a nine-day worldwide trip that has seen him travel to Saudi Arabia and Israel, completing a tour of the spiritual homelands of the world's three main monotheistic religions. After stepping out of the vehicle, Trump and First Lady Melania greeted Cardinal Georg Ganswein and other Vatican dignitaries before entering the Apostolic Palace.

"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges is not Christian", Francis said.

Mr Trump, who was a candidate at the time, responded that it was "disgraceful" of the Argentine-born pope, who represents just over half of the world's two billion Christians, to question his faith.

Pope Francis smiled faintly as he greeted Mr Trump outside the study and was not as outgoing as he sometimes is with visiting heads of state.

Trump, midway through a grueling nine-day, maiden global journey, called upon the pontiff in a private, 30-minute meeting laden with religious symbolism and ancient protocol.

The president and pope have not always seen eye to eye. Mark Miles, was present.

The Vatican said later that they shared a commitment to "life, and freedom of worship and conscience" and expressed hope that they can collaborate "in service to the people in the fields of healthcare, education and assistance to migrants".

Pope Francis and President Donald Trump have finally met face-to-face.

The president was effusively gracious to the pope throughout the meeting, according to the traveling pool of reporters who were allowed to observe some of Trump's time with him, thanking him repeatedly as they exchanged gifts. First Lady Melania Trump and First Daughter Ivanka Trump also stand next to the president.

Francis and Trump's sparred through the media during the presidential election campaign but the U.S. leader had previously expressed his admiration for the pontiff. Francis also differs sharply with Trump on the need to combat climate change and economic inequality.

"Well, I'll be reading them", Trump said.

Following the meeting, which was behind closed doors, the pontiff gifted Trump a medal by a Roman artist depicting an olive - a symbol of peace - as well as a signed message of peace and copies of his three main teaching documents.

Trump and Pope Francis clashed past year during the presidential campaign, when the latter said, without naming Trump specifically, that it wasn't Christian to build walls. Mr Trump gave the Pope a boxed set of writings by the civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

As the two parted ways, Trump told Francis, "Thank you, thank you". A press spokesperson for the Vatican commented that the pope personally loves potica, and tends to mention it whenever he meets a Slovenian. But the timing Wednesday was tight as Francis had his weekly Wednesday general audience. Bambino Gesu sits next to the Pontifical North American College on top of Rome's Gianicolo hill, and is among the most important pediatric hospitals in the world.

Human rights groups had urged Francis to raise USA use of the death penalty and the issues of torture and targeted assassinations with Trump.

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