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Rome Reports

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Dialogue between Pope Francis and journalists during the return flight from Colombia

Aboard the papal plane, the pope didn't immediately go to sleep, but instead stayed with journalists for 45 minutes to exchange impressions from his trip to Colombia.

POPE FRANCIS
“I am very grateful for the testimony of happiness, of hope and of patience throughout the suffering of this people, which has helped me a lot.”

Pope Francis didn't try to hide the wound he suffered after hitting his ahead against the glass of the popemobile.

“It gave me a black eye.”

They asked him what steps Colombia must take so that if the pope returns, he might find a reconciled country. Pope Francis joked about the slogan of the trip: we must take the first step.

POPE FRANCIS
“The motto of this journey was “Let’s take the first step.” If I come back, I would like the motto to be: “Let’s take the second step. These guerrillas, whether as guerillas or militia groups, and so much corruption, were truly hurting the country so badly that they brought about this disease of hate. But there are steps that provide hope, steps like negotiation, the ceasing of fire by the ELN, for which I am thankful; I am grateful to them for that. There is something else that I noticed: the desire to move forward further than the negotiations, which they are doing, and must continue to do so.”

They asked him if he is doing enough for Venezuela, and he reminded them of the list of initiatives put forth by the Vatican.

POPE FRANCIS
“The Holy See has done so much, sending that workgroup with the four former presidents, a top-level nuncio: He has spoken with people and publicly. I have often spoken at the Angelus, looking for an “exit”, offering help to get out of this situation, but it seems very difficult and what is most painful is the humanitarian problem: so many people who run away or suffer. We must help to solve the situation in every way.”

He talked about many topics, and prayed for the victims of the earthquale in Mexico. He said there is little time left to reverse climate change, and that it is everyone's responsibility to stop it.

He also talked about Trump's move to deport minors who are children of undocumented immigrants.

POPE FRANCIS
"Taking young people away from their families is never good for them or the family. I believe this law comes not from congress but rather from the executive branch, though I'm not certain. I hope he reconsiders a bit, because I have listened to the president of the United States that calls himself a pro-life man, and if he is truly pro-life, he understands that the family is life's cradle and he must defend unity."

The pope was tired but happy with the trip to Colombia, which he said allows him to be hopeful about the future.