Pope urges Trump to show concern for poor, be guided by ethical values

VATICAN CITY, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Pope Francis urged U.S. President Donald Trump to be guided by ethical values and as he took office on Friday, saying he must take care of the poor and the outcast during his time in office.

"At a time when our human family is beset by grave humanitarian crises demanding farsighted 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," Francis said in a message sent to Trump minutes after he was inaugurated.

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Donald Trump's first day as president

White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (2nd R) gives U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence (L) and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R) the document to confirming James Mattis his Secretary of Defense, his first signing in the Oval Office in Washington, U.S. January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

President Donald Trump turns to House Speaker Paul Ryan as he is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family as he formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, in the President's Room of the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/J. Scott Applewhite/Pool)

US President Donald Trump formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, at the Capitol in Washington, January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/J. Scott Applewhite/Pool)

US President Donald Trump signs an executive order as Vice President Mike Pence looks on at the White House in Washington, DC on January 20, 2017.

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family as he formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, in the President's Room of the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/J. Scott Applewhite/Pool)

US President Donald Trump signs an executive order as Vice President Mike Pence and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus look on at the White House in Washington, DC on January 20, 2017.

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, as he is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family while he formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, at the Capitol in Washington, January 20, 2017. From left are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump.

(REUTERS/J. Scott Applewhite/Pool)

US President Donald Trump is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family, rear, wife Melania Trump, son Barron Trump, as he formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, at the Capitol in Washington, January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/J. Scott Applewhite/Pool)

President Donald Trump prepares to sign a confirmation for Defense Secretary James Mattis as his Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (L) points to the order while Vice President Mike Pence watches January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch - Pool/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family as he formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, in the President's Room of the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/J. Scott Applewhite/Pool)

President Donald Trump signs his first executive order as president, ordering federal agencies to ease the burden of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch - Pool/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family as he formally signs his cabinet nominations into law, in the President's Room of the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 20, 2017.

(REUTERS/J. Scott Applewhite/Pool)

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"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 ...," Francis said in the message released by the Vatican.

Francis, the first pope from Latin America, has made concern for the poor and the weakest members of society a key platform of his nearly four-year-old papacy.

Last year, in response to an answer about Trump's views on immigration and his intention to build a wall on the border with Mexico, Francis said a man with those views is "not Christian."

Trump struck back, calling the pope's comments "disgraceful." (Reporting by Crispian Balmer, editing by Philip Pullella)

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