Pope Francis appeared on ABC News’s “Town Hall” discussion programme last week in advance of his trip to the United States. For an hour “World News Tonight” anchorman David Muir put questions from American viewers to the Pope in a version of ABC’s 20/20 newsmagazine called “Pope Francis & the People”.
During the episde, which was aired on Friday, the Pope encouraged a young woman with a skin disease for being courageous in the face of bullying.
“You have the strength to overcome. Don’t be scared. Don’t stop. There’s nothing worse than a young person who has retired before his or her time,” he said.
He also praised a single mother of two children, telling her: “I know it’s not easy to be a single mother. I know that people can sometimes look askance at you. You’re a brave woman because you’re capable of bringing these two daughters into the world. You respected the life you were carrying inside you and God is going to reward you for that and he does reward for you for that. Don’t be ashamed. I congratulate you.”
In the light of the Vatican’s recent investigation into American nuns, Pope Francis made a point of praising nuns for their work.
He told one nun: “I want to thank you… And through you to thank all the sisters of religious orders in the US for the work that you have done and that you do in the United States,” he said. “Is it unseemly for the Pope to say this? I love you all very much.”
A young homeless man asked Francis why his trip to America was important to him.
“There’s something very important for me, which is closeness,” he continued. “For me it’s difficult not to be close to people. When I approach people, as I’m going to do with you, it’s easier for me to understand them and help them along life’s path. That’s why this trip is so important, for me to draw close to your path and your history.”
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