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No 'Francis effect' in Strasbourg

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Nov 25, 2014

Jean-Marie Guénois, the religion correspondent for Le Figaro (and an old friend), has tweeted several perceptive observations about the Pope’s visit to Strasbourg today. Guénois has been a member of the Vatican press corps for more than 20 years, and been aboard the papal plane for more than 50 trips abroad, so he has a broad frame of reference. On this trip, he noticed two things that he had never seen before.

First, the streets of Strasbourg were nearly empty as the papal motorcade traveled from the airport to the European Parliament. There were scarcely any people on the sidewalks to greet—or for that matter even to heckle—the Pope.

Second, the schedule for the Pope’s quick trip did not include any event, however brief, that was open to the general public. Pope Francis addressed the Parliament, spoke to the leaders of the European Council, and quickly hopped on a flight back to Rome.

Commenting sadly on the trip, Guénois concludes: “The Pope did not want to see the people of Alsace, and the people of Alsace did not want to see the Pope.”

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Nov. 25, 2014 10:45 PM ET USA

    It's not the Pope I'm worried about - "But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" Luke 18:8. Perhaps the Pope will return in a year to recognize the millennium anniversary of its great cathedral.