Trump 'determined' to pursue peace after papal audience

President Trump and Pope Francis. Photo Credit: Osservatore Romano/Reuters

 VATICAN CITY-- U.S. President Donald Trump has said his audience with Pope Francis left him "more determined than ever" to pursue the quest for peace in what pundits see as a hopeful sign for the NATO and G7 summits 

 The pope and the Republican President have vastly differing world views, and disagree on many vital contemporary issues, such as immigration, climate change and arms deals. Indeed, many had their suspicions that the pope would refuse Trump an audience when it was first requested some months ago, however, recognising the importance of the meeting in the quest for world peace, the pontiff accepted immediately.

 In fact, it was in their shared hopes for said world peace that the POTUS and the pope really hit it off, agreeing on the importance of “the promotion of peace in the world through political negotiation and irreligious dialogue.”

 The gifts the two leaders exchanged reflected these intentions. The pope gifted Trump a medallion engraved with an olive branch, symbolic of peace, and the U.S. president presented the pontiff with a series of books by the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Martin Luther King. Pope Francis also delivered a message for World Peace Day to the 70-year-old Republican, calling for countries to disarm, get rid of nuclear weapons, and support non-violence in their leadership.

 Trump seems to have taken some of what the pontiff said on board, tweeting shortly after their meeting, “honour of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis. I leave the Vatican more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world.”

 Pope Francis and the American head of state are also of the same opinion when it comes to abortion. Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrinal office released a statement in the weeks leading up to Trump’s audience saying “I’m now content that religious liberty in the United States is better and that they stopped programs of Planned Parenthood for abortion. That is a good thing, a good progress.”

 The pontiff achieved his aim of finding common ground with the POTUS, as he articulated on his journey back from his own international tour some weeks ago, and it is hoped that the cordial relationship established between the world leaders on Wednesday will continue to remain as such in coming years.