Trump Refugee Ban 'A Dark Moment In US History', Warns Catholic Archbishop

 Trump's ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries is "chaotic, cruel, and oblivious" to reality, the Catholic Archbishop of Chicago is warning.

Cardinal Blase Cupich condemned the new President's executive order as a "dark moment in US history" after Trump temporarily halted the entire US refugee programme and indefinitely blocked anyone fleeing Syria from coming to America.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich greets Pope Francis as he was made a Cardinal in Rome last year.Reuters

The White House insisted the move was not a "Muslim ban".

But the Catholic archbishop pointed out the order focuses "on Muslim-majority countries" and makes "an exception for Christians and non-Muslim minorities, but not for Muslims refugees fleeing for their lives".

In a statement released on Sunday, Cupich branded the order as "contrary to both Catholic and American values".

He said it was "rushed, chaotic, cruel and oblivious to the realities that will produce enduring security for the United States".

He added: "The world is watching as we abandon our commitments to American values.

"These actions give aid and comfort to those who would destroy our way of life.

"They lower our estimation in the eyes of the many peoples who want to know America as a defender of human rights and religious liberty, not a nation that targets religious populations and then shuts its doors on them."

Evangelical and Catholic leaders issued widespread condemnation to the order, even though Trump insisted Christians fleeing persecution would be exempt from the ban.

Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr, general moderator of the presbyterian Church of Scotland said he was "horrified" by the order. 

"History is littered with instances in which human distrust, xenophobia, and discrimination has sewn hatred and conflict; our own desire for self-preservation taken at the exclusion of others," he said on Monday.

"And yet throughout history the bible has called Christians to live beyond hatred and fear, demonstrating a radical hospitality where the stranger finds welcome and refuge is provided for those who are oppressed."

The comments comes after Pope Francis told a group of Catholic and Lutheran pilgrims that you cannot be a Christian and ignore a refugee.

"It's hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian and chase away a refugee or someone seeking help, someone who is hungry or thirsty, toss out someone who is in need of my help," he said at the meeting in October. "If I say I am Christian, but do these things, I'm a hypocrite."