War of words: Pope Francis and Donald Trump

Pope Francis vs Donald Trump

During his flight back to Rome, Pope Francis told reporters Donald Trump is "not Christian."

All because of the Republican presidential front-runner's stance on immigration and commitment to build a wall along the U.S/Mexico border.

Trump did not take the pontiff's comment lying down.

With the excitement of the papal visit still hanging in the borderland air, CBS4 went to the El Paso Republican Party for reaction to the verbal battle between the Catholic leader and the politician.

Many people were surprised to hear Pope Francis chime in on this topic, including the head of El Paso's Republican Party.

"The pope has been taking positions on concepts and I think this is a first time he's really taking a strong position on what I consider to be a political issue related to one of our candidates," said Adolpho Telles, Chairman of El Paso's Republican Party.

Just hours after leaving Ciudad Juarez, Pope Francis told reporters, "A person who thinks only about building walls wherever they may be located and not building bridges is not a Christian. This man is not a Christian."

While at a rally in South Carolina, Trump fired back, saying "For a religious leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful. I am proud to be a Christian."

Telles told CBS4 Trump is a candidate unlike any other.

"Whether it's appropriate or not whether the word disgraceful is the right word or not that's a pretty strong word but is it surprising that he would take a position like that? No. because that's what he has done," Telles said.

While Trump is known for his controversial comments, Telles admits those were strong words to use on the pontiff.

"I don't like somebody criticizing so much, but also he put himself into the political arena by his comments," Telles said.

Trump went on to say "If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS . . . I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president."

"He has a very high opinion of himself. I think the Catholic church and the Vatican represent probably 60 percent of humanity and Donald Trump represents maybe 1 percent so who wins?" said west El Paso resident Patrick Roselli.

Another man told CBS4 the pope shouldn't get involved with politics.

"It makes Donald Trump look good because he gets more publicity and the pope looks like he's just bashing Trump." Christopher White said.

Telles would not criticize Trump's comments. He said that would infringe on freedom of speech.

"Whether I agree with him or don't agree with him is not the issue. He has a right to say whatever he chooses to say," Telles said.

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