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From the papal plane: Pope Francis extends a hand to China and discusses the Synod

2015-09-28

During the flight from Philadelphia to Rome, Pope Francis held a press conference to discuss the just-finished trip. But he also spoke about relations with China, the upcoming Synod on the Family, and the refugee crisis.

Speaking about the Synod, he said it will cover many topics and that the focus shouldn't only be on whether divorced and remarried Catholics can receive Communion.

POPE FRANCIS
"It is not the only problem. In the working document, they mention others. For example, young people aren't getting married. They don't want to get married. It is a pastoral problem for the Church. Another problem is emotional maturity for marriage...The preparation for marriage. I think to be a priest, you have to study for eight years, and it's still not definitive. The Church can rescind the priestly state. To marry, something that lasts for an entire life, they take four classes, four sessions. Something is not working here.”

After barely finishing a long and exhausting trip, the Pope was already dreaming of another one: a visit to China.

POPE FRANCIS
"I would very much like to go to China. I love the Chinese people, I love them very much. I hope that the possibility to have good relations exists. We have contacts, we talk, and we're going forward. To be friends with a country like China, which has so much culture and so many opportunities to do good, it would be a delight.”

Speaking about recent developments in the peace process in Colombia, the Pope said he was very happy. However, he wouldn't be satisfied until the government and FARC rebels reach a definite agreement.

He also addressed the refugee crisis in Europe, saying that building walls would not help resolve the situation.

POPE FRANCIS
"You know what happens to walls. All walls collapse: today, tomorrow, or in a hundred years. But all of them fall. It is not a solution. A wall is not a solution. Europe is now facing difficulties, it's true. We have to be intelligent because a migratory wave is coming and it's not easy to find solutions. But with dialogue between countries, they will find it. Walls are never the solution...The problem will remain, but with more hatred.”

After his successful reception in the United States, he was asked if he considered himself a rock star. The Pope responded by saying that rock stars come and go. They spend their time only looking and thinking about themselves, while he strives to be a servant of the servants of God.

POPE FRANCIS
"Yes, in the media they use this phrase, but there is another truth: many stars we've seen rise and then fall. It's a passing thing. Instead, being a servant of the servants of God is good. That doesn't end.”

When he landed in Rome at 10:00 a.m. local time, the Pope didn't head home to relax immediately. First, he stopped at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to pray for the success of the journey.


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