At an Oct. 11 audience with the Pope, European Parliament president Martin Schulz is expected to formally invite Pope Francis to address the legislative body of the European Union.
The news of Schulz’ visit is still not official, but it has been
confirmed by a European Union source who spoke to CNA Sept. 24 under
condition of anonymity.
The source maintained that Schulz' audience is already scheduled, though
“due to unforeseen circumstances these kind of things can change quite
late,” and this is probably a reason why the audience has not yet been
Schulz had already extended an informal verbal invitation to the Pope to
visit the European Parliament at his inaugural Mass as Bishop of Rome
on March 19.
Both of Schulz' predecessors – Hans-Gert Pöttering of Germany and Jerzy
Buzek of Poland – invited Benedict XVI to address the European
Parliament, but he never took up the invitation.
The only previous
occasion when a Pope addressed the institution was Blessed John Paul II
Although Schulz received an education at an institution of the Holy
Ghost Fathers, the 57-year-old European leader claims to be a
non-believer and has thus far not attended European Union meetings with
Such meetings have been attended faithfully by both
José Manuel Durao Barroso, president of the European Commission, and
Herman van Rompuy, president of the European Council.
According to the anonymous source, the program of the audience has
Schulz visiting a Sant’Egidio project shortly after his meeting with the
In the early afternoon, Schulz is also due to participate in a public
debate on poverty and humanitarian issues at the Gregorian University.
The press office of Gregorian University told CNA Sept. 24 that “the
conference has not yet been confirmed,” but did not deny that they have
The debate is understood to have been organized by Caritas
International, with Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of
Tegucigalpa and president of the organization, to be on the podium