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Rome Reports

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Inside papal plane: Pope Francis presents journalists with photo about nuclear war

The pope's plane took 16 hours to arrive in Chile from Rome. The Holy Father said he used the time to work and rest. After an hour in the air, Pope Francis made his way to the area where the journalists were working. He reminded that he's been to Peru a few times and knows Chile well because he lived there for a year and a half. 

“For me, it won't be too difficult in Chile because I studied there. I have many friends there. I know it well, more or less. However, I'm less familiar with Peru. I've gone there two or three times for conventions, meetings...”

The pope also gave journalists a very somber photo from the day after the Nagasaki atomic bomb. On the backside, Pope Francis wrote 'this is the result of war.'

“It was taken in 1945. The information is on the back. It's of a boy who is carrying his little brother on his back, his dead little brother. They're waiting their turn at the crematorium in Nagasaki the day after the bombing. It moved me when I saw it. I only dared to write 'the result of war.' I wanted to print and distribute it because a photo like that says more than a thousand words. I wanted to share this with you all.”

During the personal greetings, a journalist asked Pope Francis if he feared a nuclear war. The pope's response was 'Yes,' because 'We're at a limit, and there's a definite risk. All it would take is one accident to incite it.' The Holy Father also added that 'the solution is eliminating nuclear weapons.'

There were many moments during the personal greetings. Like this encounter with an Italian journalist on her first papal trip since overcoming an illness. Pope Francis blessed reporters' family photos, rosaries and religious objects. 

The papal plane flew over a dozen countries, among them, Argentina. The pope was able to see his homeland once again, sending his countrymen a brief, cordial message:

His Excellency Mauricio Macri
President of the Argentine Republic
Buenos Aires

As I fly over Argentinian airspace I extend to you my warm greetings and I send heartfelt best wishes to all the people of my homeland, assuring them of my closeness and blessing. I ask all of you, please, do not forget to pray for me.

Pope Francis had a meal of chicken and pasta and says he spent the flight working and resting. He arrives ready for the challenges presented by this historic trip.