Pope Francis has sent a formal message of congratulations to new U.S. President Donald Trump in an unusually timely statement from the Vatican, expressing hope that his decisions as president may be guided by the nation's "rich spiritual and ethical values."
The pontiff has also told the new president that he hopes that under his leadership the stature of the United States may "be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door."
The full statement from Pope Francis, issued by the Vatican shortly after Trump's inauguration Friday:
The Honorable Donald Trump
President of the United States of America The White House
Upon your inauguration as the forty-fifth President of the United States of America, I offer you my cordial good wishes and the assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will grant you wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high office. At a time when our human family is beset by grave humanitarian crises demanding far- sighted and united political responses, I pray that your decisions will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people and your nation’s commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide. Under your leadership, may America’s stature continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door. With these sentiments, I ask the Lord to grant you and your family, and all the beloved American people, his blessings of peace, concord and every material and spiritual prosperity.