Pope Francis confirms that he’ll visit the United States next year to attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. The papal visit is expected to include Washington and New York, where the pope would address world leaders at the General Assembly.
“There’s been a lot of interest in having him come ever since he was appointed, but the question was ‘who could get him to come?'”
William Thorn, PhD, is associate professor of journalism at Marquette University. He’s been working with the Vatican since 1982.
In response to reporters questions, Thorn says the pontiff might talk a little about gay marriage, clergy sex abuse, and abortion, but notes Francis has repeatedly said the Catholic church encompasses much more than just a couple issues and won’t focus on those few hot button topics.
“We have a much broader agenda than that. It includes the hungry and the homeless, immigrants and labor rights and a much broader Catholic social teaching agenda.”
AUDIO: Immigration will likely be a topic of discussion, Thorn says. (1 minute)
The mayor of Green Bay back in February had officially invited the pope to visit his neck of woods, using the Shrine of our Lady of Good Help as a selling point. It’s the only Marian apparition site recognized by the Catholic Church in the United States. Mayor Jim Schmidt also had said the pontiff could hold a Mass at the 78,000 seat Lambeau Field. No word from the pontiff.
September’s trip would be Francis’ first to the U.S. as pope.
It will have been more than seven years since the last papal visit to the U.S. Thorn speculates the Pope might also visit an area with a high Hispanic population, such as Los Angeles, San Antonio, or Miami.