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On US Visit, Spanish to Prevail in Pope's Speeches

  • VOA News

Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's square for his weekly general audience, at the Vatican in Rome, Sept. 9, 2015.

Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's square for his weekly general audience, at the Vatican in Rome, Sept. 9, 2015.

When Pope Francis visits the United States next week on a three-city tour, he will deliver only four of his 18 planned speeches in English.

The native of Argentina is most comfortable speaking in Spanish, a spokesman for the Vatican told The Associated Press, although the pontiff also speaks German and Italian fluently.

The pope's remarks at the White House and Congress — the first ever by a pope — will be among those made in English.

The 78-year-old Francis faces a packed schedule on his first trip to the U.S., arriving on September 22 for two days in Washington, following a visit to Cuba. He has never before been to the U.S. or Cuba.

He then will attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York and the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia before returning to Rome on September 27.

Pope itinerary, Sept 22 - 27, 2015

Pope itinerary, Sept 22 - 27, 2015



Spanish vs. English

Francis spoke mostly English on recent trips to Asia. Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the 78-year-old Argentine pope is more comfortable, though, using Spanish to express himself.

Lombardi also said security would be especially stringent on this trip, particularly in New York, since the pope's arrival takes place during the U.N. General Assembly gathering of world leaders, which attracts a large crowd of people by itself.

Lombardi noted that Francis would have just several occasions to greet crowds from his open-sided popemobile.

Some information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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