Slightly injured Pope Francis ends Colombia tour with unity appeal

Violet Powell
September 12, 2017

If US President Donald Trump considers himself "pro-life", he should reconsider his decision to end a program that allows the children of undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States, Pope Francis said.

"I have heard the President of the United States speak", the pope added. However, the decision has been met with harsh criticism, including from US bishops, who said ending the program was a "national tragedy" for all parties and argued that it is unfair to deport young people who did not make the choice to come to the USA, but who nevertheless have contributed to the country by holding down jobs, going to college and even serving in the nation's armed forces.

Since former-President Barack Obama implemented the DACA initiative five years ago, almost 800,000 people have been able to work and attend school in the US without as much fear of deportation.

Weighing in on two areas of disagreement with a USA president with whom he has already clashed, Pope Francis said Monday that climate science is clearly true, and that President Donald Trump should allow young immigrants to stay in the United States if he is truly "pro-life".

Trump's attitude on abortion rights has shifted over the years. Now they'll be sent to countries they've never known.

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Pope Francis wrapped up his Colombia trip with a deeply personal final day Sunday honoring St. Peter Claver, a fellow Jesuit who ministered to hundreds of thousands of African slaves who arrived in the port of Cartagena to be sold during Spanish colonial times.

Noting that the extensive damage from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, potentially connected to the warming of the oceans, a reporter asked the pope about the moral responsibility of "politicians who refuse to collaborate with other nations to control emissions" because they deny human responsibility for climate change.

When asked why some governments refused to see the importance of the issue, Francis quoted the book of Psalms in the Old Testament. He concluded: "young people today need to find again their roots, and whatever goes against the roots takes away their hopes".

Francis said he was particularly struck by news last week of a Russian boat that managed to go through the North Pole without an icebreaker.

Francis returns to Rome from Cartagena on Sunday night, ending a five-day visit highlighted by a huge prayer of reconciliation that brought together victims of Colombia's long-running conflict and demobilised guerrillas and paramilitary fighters. "I think what I see there is a fight for political interests". The pontiff said during the presidential campaign that a man who thought about building walls and not bridges was "not Christian".

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