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article imageTrump compares his wall to Vatican wall — So it's not immoral

By Karen Graham     Jan 6, 2019 in Politics
Vatican City - On Wednesday, grasping at straws, President Donald Trump, who's not really well-versed on history, suggested that a border wall can't be immoral because there are walls around the Vatican.
"When they say the wall’s immoral, well then you got to do something about the Vatican, because the Vatican has the biggest wall of them all," Trump said, according to The Hill.
Trump also claimed that walls "work 100 percent. Look at all of the countries that have walls, and they work 100 percent," he said. "It’s never going to change. A wall is a wall.”
This is not the first time that Trump has made comments about the walls surrounding the Vatican. CNN reported that in February 2016, Pope Francis called Donald Trump's plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border "not Christian." Trump's campaign director quickly came up with a response.
"Amazing comments from the Pope -- considering Vatican City is 100% surrounded by massive walls," tweeted Dan Scavino, the Trump campaign's director of social media and a senior adviser.
While the "tit-for-tat" over the Vatican's wall being compared to Trump's great wall across the Southern border dominated the news feed for several days, the rhetoric primarily countered Sarvino's comments, with clear explanations showing the walls are essentially open, with the "front door always open."
Trump, in his usual "react-before-thinking" mindset, quickly fired back - saying: "No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man's religion or faith," Trump said, calling the Pope's remarks "disgraceful."
Bickering over wall causes a partial government shutdown
Trump's comments came on December 2 at a meeting with his Cabinet members. as he continues to demand that Congress approve $5 billion in funding for a wall to be built along the southern border. The federal government went into shutdown on December 22 and is now in its third week.
During the cabinet meeting, Trump said the shutdown could last for "a long time," while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested Wednesday that the shutdown could continue for "weeks." However, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), reiterated that Democrats won't agree to fund a wall. “Nothing for the wall,” she told with NBC’s “Today."
The truth about the Vatican's walls
Most people may be surprised to learn that when Saracen pirates sacked St. Peter’s in 846, Pope Leo IV decided he needed a little extra protection. A 39-foot-tall wall was constructed around part of Vatican City, an independent city-state.
The term Saracen was used in the Middle Ages and refers to Arabs and Muslims. “Gradually the Muslim threat receded and many gates were opened in the walls,” says Thomas Noble, a papal history expert at Notre Dame University.
However, in the 16th Century, a new pope, Pius IV, had the gates closed again because of a new threat - Roman politicians angling for more political clout and the Vatican's riches tried their best to draw the Vatican into the political fray. “The problem in those later times was that political violence in Rome sometimes threatened the papacy,” says Noble.
The crowd pictured during the Easter Sunday mass on St Peter's Square in the Vatican on April 1...
The crowd pictured during the Easter Sunday mass on St Peter's Square in the Vatican on April 16, 2017
Walls become a political and cultural statement
There came a time when there was actually no need for a physical barrier to keep the bad guys out of the Vatican, but popes continued to expand the wall during the 1400s and 1500s, but these stretches were less about defense and more about making "a political and cultural statement" about the pope's power.
“Remember that the great Renaissance Popes sought to restore Rome and the Vatican Area to be the glory of the civilized world,” says Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, a Catholic studies professor at Georgetown.
St. Peter’s Basilica Church was built to be “the largest church in Christendom and the center of pilgrimage in Europe,” she says. Surrounding it all with a wall was a “sign of papal power.”
Pope Francis shakes hands with US President Donald Trump during a private audience at the Vatican
Pope Francis shakes hands with US President Donald Trump during a private audience at the Vatican
Evan Vucci, POOL/AFP
So the Vatican's walls became more symbolic than oppressive, and besides, they really wouldn't serve to keep anyone out who really wanted to get in. “Building walls, whether in China or the north of Britain or anywhere else, have always been political statements,” says Noble. “They have never served as effective barriers.”
The truth? It is more difficult to get through airport security at London's Heathrow than to get into the Vatican. The doors are always open and metal detectors are the only obstacle between the public and St. Peter’s Square
"The walls are a fortification, there is no question, but they were a fortification built at a time when armed invasions by barbarians and other forces were happening," Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, a Catholic studies professor at Georgetown University, told The New York Times. "And that is not the same thing we are talking about with a wall between the U.S. and Mexico."
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