(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis greeted some seventy journalists aboard the papal plane Monday as it flew from Rome to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for World Youth Day celebrations. The reporters included 10 Brazilians, 10 from the U.S., 9 from France, 6 from Spain, plus journalists from the U.K. Mexico, Germany, Japan, Argentina, Poland, Portugal and Russia.
In a brief exchange with the journalists, the Pope expressed particular concern about the risk of an entire generation of people without jobs.
Pope Francis told reporters “this first trip of mine is to meet young people, (to see them) … not as isolated young people but immersed in their social context, in society. Because when we isolate young people, we do them an injustice: we take away their ‘belonging.’” (source)
I had previously seen references to Pope Francis not normally wanting to give interviews. That this also dates back to his time as a bishop. So while the Pope greeted the reporters he was traveling with there was no question and answer session as with Pope Benedict XVI.
Mostly I think this is a good thing since often those airplane Q&A sessions generated more heat than light since reporters don’t usually ask actual interesting questions, but ones tied to generating a headline. “Can I get the Pope to say something controversial” seem to be the intent of the whole exercise.
On the other hand I also greatly enjoyed Pope Benedict XVI openness to interviews with extended throughout his life and several times into book form. He also said a number of quite insightful things during some of these Q&A sessions while travelling. Yet of course only only the question on something like condom use got any real coverage. Selfishly as a blogger I like the grist for the mill such interviews can generate.
More from the Catholic News Agency
During the pontificates of Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI, it was traditional for the Pope to hold an in-flight question and answer session with the press onboard the plane.
But Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s press office director, explained to journalists at a July 17 pre-World Youth Day briefing that the Pope will instead spend part of the flight getting to know the journalists traveling with him and have informal discussion with them.