FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --The latest twist in the presidential race has Donald Trump at odds with the Pope. This comes as the Pontiff suggested Trump's plans to build a wall on the Mexican border to keep immigrants out was not what a Christian would do. Trump fired back that the Pope's statement was disgraceful.
For local conservative activist Mike Der Manouel Jr. The Popes comments about Donald Trump are out of line. "Well, I'm a Trump Supporter and a Catholic. So I was very shocked today."
While leaving Mexico aboard the Papal plane, the Pontiff was asked by a reporter about Trump's support for building a wall to keep immigrants out. Pope Francis said, "A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian."
The plight of immigrants is an emotional issue for the Pontiff. During his visit to Mexico, he prayed for the thousands who have died crossing the US border. But Trump saw the Pope's statement as a personal attack and lashed back. "For a religious leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful."
Der Manouel backs Trump on this. "I think it's unprecedented for the Pope to name an individual citizen and question their Christianity, that puzzles me. I'm pretty sure that's not his job to decide that."
Following the midday mass at St. Johns Cathedral in downtown Fresno, Action News asked parishioners for their take on the controversy. Edward Martinez told us, "We are accountable to our brothers as well as, to some extent, to the people who are our neighbors and in that respect I really admire the pope for speaking up."
Leona Garzelli added, "I believe the Pope is not trying to be a politician, and he shouldn't be. I just think he's trying to break down those walls to bring peace to the world."
Action News contacted the Fresno Diocese for a comment but got no response. However, one priest we spoke with said they don't want to add to the political babble.
One question is will the war of words between Trump and the Pontiff hurt or help the Trump campaign.