I had a great weekend in Florence with my two cousins and will try to find some time to post a few photos but for now, just a report on Pope Francis’ press conference after his three-day trip to Georgia and Azerbaijan.


As you know, Pope Francis returned to Rome last night from a three-day trip to Georgia and Azerbaijan. On the return flight to Rome, as is by now traditional, especially when the flight is long and time allows, the Pope held a “presser, a press conference with the journalists aboard the flight. (photo – Pope Francis and Greg Burke, director of the Holy See Press Office)


Ample news summaries have been written of some of the papal comments on the war against marriage, gender ideology, the U.S. election, peace in the world, possible consistories to create new cardinals, future papal trips and many more topics.

One talk highlighted by many in the media were the Holy Father’s off-the-cuff remarks on Saturday October 1 when, after celebrating Mass for the country’s small Catholic populace, he addressed hundreds of priests, seminarians, men and women Religious and pastoral workers. He did not use a prepared speech, rather, he listened to testimonies, took ample notes and then answered questions of made comments in an extemporaneous manner.

Francis spoke at length on marriage and commented on one woman’s remarks by noting that she “mentioned a great enemy of marriage today: gender theory. Today the whole world is at war trying to destroy marriage but it is a war fought with words, not weapons.”

Her remarks to Pope Francis focused on the growing pressure on people – couples and families – to accept homosexuality and gender ideology, and also on what she called the “marginalization” of the Christian vision of the family. Francis said there are “certain ideologies that destroy marriage, and thus we need to defend ourselves from ideological colonization.”

The Holy Father stressed that, “marriage is the most beautiful thing God created. …As man and woman have been created in God’s image, it is when the two become one that His image is reflected.” Francis said he understood the trials and difficulties that can come with marriage and noted that sometimes couples seek to resolve things on a path to divorce. But, he said, “when divorce happens, two people pay: “God pays, because God is the one Who made them one, and when they divorce, they soil what God has made.”

Children also pay the price of the separation, said Francis. “You don’t know, you have no idea how much children suffer when they see parents fight and separate.”  He also noted that, although “complex situations” can exist, “you must do everything to save a marriage.”

The Catholic News Agency crew had a very late night – or early morning, depending on how you look at it! – as they combined efforts to translate the entire 4,700-word in-flight presser. On its website, Vatican Radio used the CNA summary of the papal remarks on the plane to Rome from Azerbaijan.

Below are some of the fair and well-balanced headlines summarizing a few of the papal comments:.

Pope Francis: Love those who struggle, but don’t push gender theory on kids

Pope says walk with trans persons, but fight gender theory

Pope Francis green-lights opening of Fr. Jacques Hamel beatification process

Pope sees ‘global war’ against marriage, urges church help for couples

Following is the transcript of the papal Q and A. It is lengthy and, at times, seems repetitive and possibly even rambling but that is not the translation which is faithful to the Pope’s words.