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Pope Shades Trump, Saying 'Those Who Build Walls Become Prisoners'

It tells you a lot about the world we live in that you don't even need a wall to divide people — you just need an opinion on walls. Really, that's all it takes. And everybody has an opinion on walls these days.

Still, what's going down on Twitter is one thing — what world leaders are saying is far more interesting than what some rando is posting on social media, right?

As the leader of more than a billion Catholics around the globe, Pope Francis's words generate plenty of headlines.

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He doesn't have to say much for the press to take notice. Of course, the same can be said of President Trump.

But the pontiff's latest comments have re-ignited a simmering dispute, and so it's not surprising that news outlets worldwide sat up and took notice.

"Those who build walls will become prisoners of the walls they put up," he said. "This is history."

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"This is not the way to resolve the serious problem of immigration. I understand a government has a hot potato in its hands, but it has to resolve it in other ways, humanely. Builders of walls, be they made of razor wire or bricks, will end up becoming prisoners of the walls they build."

Now, Pope Francis wasn't calling out President Trump directly, by name.

According to CNN His Holiness had just been shown a piece of concertina wire from Cueta, a town on Spain's border with Morocco.

So, Pope Francis was calling out all governments trying to keep migrants out using walls and barbed wire fences.

However, given the history of Pope Francis's comments on borders and walls, it's easy to connect his comments to President Trump.

For one thing, President Trump had just threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border, so that was fresh in the news.

For another, Pope Francis has been speaking out against walls since 2016, when President Trump was just Candidate Trump.

On one of the few times Pope Francis did refer directly to President Trump, if not by name, he called Trump's pledge to build a wall "not Christian."

"A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel," he said on a flight home from Mexico.

As should be no surprise to anyone, Trump punched back.

Calling the Pope's remarks "disgraceful," he released a statement that raised the spectre of a terrorist attack on the Vatican.

"If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS's ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president," Trump said.

At the same time, Trump's social media director, Dan Scavino, tweeted to call the pontiff a hypocrite because the Vatican has walls.

Which is partly true. The Vatican does have some walls, but they don't completely surround the city, and they're about 1200 years old. There's also large hole guarded only by a few metal detectors. Otherwise, anybody can stroll in.

Earlier this year, the Pope made similar comments during a visit to Panama.

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"We know that the father of lies, the devil, prefers a community divided and bickering," he said, according to CNN. "This is the criteria to divide people: The builders of brides and the builders of walls, those builders of walls sow fear and look to divide people."

h/t CNN