Donald Trump and Pope Francis Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images; Vatican Pool/Getty Images

Taking on the papacy! Donald Trump was none too pleased when Pope Francis told reporters on Wednesday, February 17, that he doesn’t consider the GOP presidential hopeful to be Christian — and the mogul fired back one day later.

“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful,” Trump, 69, said in a statement on his official site on Thursday, February 18. “I am proud to be a Christian and as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now, with our current President.”

“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith,” he continued.

On Wednesday, the Pope, 79, told reporters that he didn’t approve of Trump’s proposal to build a physical wall between Mexico and the United States.

“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the gospel,” he told reporters on a flight back to Rome from a six-day visit to Mexico.

Despite his incisive words, however, the Pope declined to openly state whether he thought American Catholics should give the controversial contender their votes.

“As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that,” he said. “I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that.”

Trump has previously called immigrants from Mexico “killers and rapists,” and told CNN’s Jake Tapper that if elected president, he would eject some 11 million undocumented immigrants from the country in addition to building an $8 billion wall along the U.S.’ southern border.

In his statement Thursday, the real estate titan seemed to warn of the far-reaching effects of the Pope’s words.

“[The Mexican government is] using the Pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so, especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant,” he said.

“If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’s ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the Pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been President because this would not have happened,” he added. “ISIS would have been eradicated unlike what is happening now with our all talk, no action politicians.”

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