World Meeting of Families: Another Papal Slip-Up?

World Meeting of Families: Another Papal Slip-Up? July 28, 2014

Logo - World Meeting of FamiliesOn July 25, I reported that Pope Francis would be coming to the United States in September 2015 to attend the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. I was relaying the announcement by Archbishop Charles Chaput, archbishop of Philadelphia, that the pope would attend the meeting on September 25-27.  Now, the Vatican says “Not so fast!”

According to Vatican Radio,

The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, issued a statement on Friday, saying the Pope has not confirmed his participation at the World Meeting for Families in Philadelphia in 2015. He made the clarification after Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia had declared earlier that the Pope would attend.

However, Fr. Lombardi said that while Pope Francis “has shown his willingness to participate…he has yet to launch any concrete plan or program regarding a trip to the U.S. or Mexico”.

How did this happen?  Was this based on an informal conversation between the Cardinal and the Pope, similar to the conversation Pope Francis had with Italian atheist journalist Eugenio Scalfari?  Did the Pope make an off-the-cuff promise, only to be confronted by Curial handlers who said, “Wait!  You have a conflict on your schedule!”?  I don’t know.

I find it extremely troubling that once again, we have to take a step back after this formal announcement; but I don’t know how it happened.  I just wish it would stop happening–that Father Lombardi would be spared the responsibility for mop-ups after papal statements.

And I really hope he gets to come!

*     *     *     *     *

In other news:  The World Meeting of Families announced two patrons for next year’s conference:  St. Pope John Paul II, and St. Gianna Beretta Molla, patron of mothers, physicians and unborn children.

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  • Brian Sullivan

    Maybe it was Archbishop Chaput who spoke too soon? Your original post has the block quote from CNS quoting Fr. Lombardi as saying the Pope Francis had expressed “his willingness to participate in the World Meeting of Families”–not that he was coming.

  • I’m sorry, but this is evidence of an extraordinary sense of entitlement. Do you really think the Holy Father should run the Church in such a way as to spare you from things like this? You find this “extremely troubling”? If this is “extremely troubling” what would your reaction be if something actually bad happened? How could a person with your attitude have survived the 1960s and 1970s? What’s happened here is obvious. First Archbishop Chaput did not “officially announce” he said it in a homily in Fargo, ND at a Mass for St Kateri. Second the Holy Father can’t promise to be anywhere next year. What if something comes up? What if he can’t make it? So the Holy Father tells Archbishop Chaput he intends to come. Archbishop Chaput doesn’t keep this secret. There’s no reason to keep this secret. Do you want him to keep this secret? So Archbishop Chaput has talked to the Pope who has told him he’d like to go and Archbishop Chaput is confident that he will come, but it can’t formally be put on his schedule yet. That’s a level of uncertainty that you can’t live with?

    I don’t think anybody’s at fault here, but if a person accepts your assumption there’s been a “slip-up” how can it be the Holy Father’s slip-up? How can it be anybody’s slip-up in Rome? It would have to be Archbishop Chaput’s slip-up, if it is anybody’s, as Brian Sullivan points out. Why jump to the conclusion that it’s a papal slip-up?

  • patsw

    Perhaps Archbishop Chaput can produce the email he received from the Holy See and then Fr. Lombardi can claim that the mail headers were forged to make it only seem the email originated in the Vatican. There’s a precedent for that going back to 2004.