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  • During his campaign last year, Trump picked a fight with the pope over his pro-immigration stance.

    During his campaign last year, Trump picked a fight with the pope over his pro-immigration stance. | Photo: Reuters

As a matter of policy, popes meet with any head of state who requests an audience, regardless of any differences they have.

U.S. President Donald Trump has not asked to meet Pope Francis during his visit to Italy next month for the Group of Seven summit, sources said on Tuesday, in what would be a highly unusual omission.

Trump, who Francis suggested was "not Christian" if he wanted a wall on the Mexican border, is due in Sicily on May 26-27 for a meeting of the heads of the world's richest nations.

The two men have diametrically opposing positions on immigration, refugees, climate change and unbridled capitalism. Trump called the pope's criticism of his plan to build the Mexico wall "disgraceful."

U.S. presidents have in the past made a beeline for the Vatican while they were in Italy or Europe in order to meet with the head of the world's largest Christian church. Only one of them, John Kennedy, was a Roman Catholic.

President George W. Bush met with a pope six times, three times each with Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict.

A senior Vatican diplomatic source confirmed that the White House had so far made no approaches to the Holy See about a possible meeting, which would be the first between the two men.

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