Pope Francis could travel to Asia in 2014 after explaining that “a trip to Asia must be made.”
The Argentine pontiff confided his plans to journalists who were flying with him back to Italy with him after his trip to Brazil.
In this widely reported encounter, he touched upon controversial subjects such as homosexuality, women priests and reforming the scandal-ridden Vatican Bank.
But he also disclosed his plans for international travel in coming months, saying a trip to the Middle East and one to East Asia are his top priorities.
“A trip to Asia must be made, because Pope Benedict didn't have time to go to Asia and it is important,” he told the reporters.
“I think it is possible to go to Asia, even if everything is still up in the air,” he added. “I have received invitations to go to Sri Lanka and to the Philippines.”
Vatican sources speaking on condition of anonymity cautioned that no decision have been taken yet. An official announcement of a papal trip is usually made by the local bishops' conference of the country where the pope is traveling.
The Philippines officially invited Pope Francis immediately after his inauguration Mass last March.
Pope Francis also said he wants to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, to commemorate the first historical meeting of Pope Paul VI with his Orthodox counterpart Athenagoras. But no final decision has been taken, he added.
The pontiff did rule out a visit to his native Argentina in the near future. “I think we'll have to wait for a while,” he said.
If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.
Here are some numbers:
- 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
- Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
- Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
- Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
- Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
- We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)
As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.
Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!