Pope Francis renews call for Christians to build bridges instead of walls

Pope Francis has once again called on Christians to build bridges and not walls as thousands of faithful gathered in Rome for the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking.

(REUTERS / Tony Gentile)Pope Francis celebrates a Mass to mark the closing of a Jubilee year for the 800th anniversary of the official foundation of the Dominican Order in Saint John Basilica in Rome, Italy January 21, 2017.

On Wednesday, Pope Francis commemorated the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking by remembering the persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar. Although the Rohingya people are not Christians, the pope emphasized that they are still good people who are being forced out of the country because they are unwanted, Crux relays.

"They are driven out of Myanmar, going from one place to another because they're not wanted. They're good people, peaceful!" Pope Francis said of the Rohingya people. "They aren't Christians, they're good [people]. They're brothers and sisters of ours."

As he led the people into prayer, Pope Francis lamented the pain, torture, and death that the Rohingya people have to face just because they are carrying their Muslim faith and tradition.

Along this line, the pontiff talked about hope, forgiveness and Christians' role in fostering peace. He once again appealed for people to build bridges instead of walls and to overcome evil with good and forgiveness.

"In the social and civil context as well, I appeal not to create walls but to build bridges," the pope said. "To not respond to evil with evil. To defeat evil with good, the offense with forgiveness."

This is not the first time that the pope has talked about choosing to build bridges and not walls. In February 2016, he told reporters aboard the papal plane that people who want to build walls are not Christians, according to a statement translated by the Associated Press.

The Washington Post said the statement about building walls "singled out" U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been vocal about building a border wall with Mexico.

Trump, on the other hand, responded to the pope's comments by saying it is "disgraceful" for a religious leader to question one's faith. The billionaire also said he is proud to be a Christian and vowed to guard Christianity from attacks such as those occurring under the previous administration.