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Rome Reports

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May 2017: Pope Francis meets Donald Trump face to face

May began with one of the most spiritual of all the journeys of Pope Francis: his trip to Fatima.

He visited the place where the Virgin Mary appeared 100 years ago. There, he canonized two of the children visionaries and placed the destiny of humankind in the hands of the Blessed Mother.

The Portuguese received Pope Francis with enthusiasm and, in what became the image of the trip, prayed in silence with him.

In May, the Holy Father held one of the most anticipated meeetings of the year when he met with Donald Trump, the President of the United States.

“You are welcome.”

“Thank you very much. This is such a great honor.”

In Saudi Arabia, the president had just signed the largest arms trade deal in the history of the United States. Perhaps that is why Pope Francis gave him the cold shoulder at the beginning of their encounter, although the tone of the visit became more relaxed as it continued. In fact, there was even time for pleasantries when the Holy Father asked the First Lady if she had ever served her husband a typical Slovenian dessert.

“Do you give him 'potiza'?”

“What do you give him [Trump] to eat?”


The private meeting lasted a half hour and was dominated by the issue of peace. The visit concluded with a firm handshake.

“Thank you. Thank you. I won't forget what you said. Thank you.”

In May, Pope Francis also met with the Presidents of Ireland and Canada. His last meeting of the month, however, was not with politicians but with dozens of workers, businessmen, trade unionists and unemployed persons. This took place during his pastoral visit to the city of Genoa, in northern Italy.

“We must fear the speculators, not the entrepreneurs. But paradoxically, sometimes the political system seems to encourage those who speculate with the job of others and not who invests and believes in the job. Why? Because itcreates bureaucracy and controls with the assumption that the actors of the economy are speculators, and so who does not remain disadvantaged and who is a speculator succeeds to find ways to get around the laws and reach his goals.”

Pope Francis also had surprises in store this month when he announced a consistory for the creation of five new cardinals in June.