Argentine press claims Pope Francis will visit country in December

Rome, Italy, Mar 26, 2013 / 04:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Two of Argentina's leading newspapers reported today that Pope Francis will visit the country this year during the first half of December.

In response, however, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the only trip for the Holy Father that has been confirmed so far is his visit to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day in July.

On March 26, local newspaper La Nacion reported that Pope Francis took the opportunity during President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's recent visit to the Vatican to tell her of his decision to postpone a trip to Argentina until after the country holds elections in October.

According to the Argentine daily Clarin, possible travel to the country in December by the Pope has been welcomed by President de Kirchner.

Fr. Lombardi told CNA that although it is “normal that the Pope would go to Argentina sooner or later, as Benedict XVI went to Germany or John Paul II to Poland,” the spokesman does “not have any official confirmation” at this time.

“The only thing I can confirm,” he added, “is his trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for World Youth Day,” which will take place July 23-28.

Valentina Carusi, an official with the Holy See's Argentine Embassy in Rome, told CNA that the press “did indeed give some dates, but we are not going to confirm anything here because there has been no official confirmation by the Vatican about the Pope’s schedule.”

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