Why Pope Francis’ trip to Japan was ‘one for the history books’

Pope Francis greets the crowd before celebrating Mass at the baseball stadium in Nagasaki, Japan, Nov. 24, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

This week on “Inside the Vatican,” Gerry and I recap the pope’s visit to Thailand and Japan, which Gerry believes is “one for the history books.”


First up, in Thailand, the “land of smiles,” Pope Francis received a warm welcome. Gerry and I talk about the pope’s visits with his cousin and the leader of the nation’s Buddhists. Then, we look at the issues the pope hoped to bring to light: interreligious cooperation, migration, human trafficking, and giving Catholicism “a Thai face.”

Then, the pope traveled to Japan, where he spoke about nuclear weapons at the sites of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Gerry walks us through the moving scenes in both places, and we discuss Francis’ deep personal connections to Japan. We’ll also talk about the pope’s intention to add the immorality of nuclear weapons to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

After returning to Rome, Pope Francis met with a group of U.S. bishops from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and the bishops requested that the Vatican release its report on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. We update you on when to expect that report.

Finally, the pope visited the site of the first recreation of the Nativity scene to encourage Catholics to put up their crèche this Advent.

Links from the show:

Correction (Dec. 11, 2019): This article has been updated with the correct caption for the header photo. The photo shows Pope Francis greeting a crowd in Nagasaki, not participating in a moment of silence in Hiroshima as originally stated.

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