Pope Francis has arrived to United States. The plane from Cuba has landed at the Andrews base, near Washington. The Pontiff was welcomed by the American president Obama, along with the first lady Michelle and their daughters Malia and Sasha. Were present also one hundred people who were celebrating and four children chosen among the students of four different Catholic schools of Washington. After a brief private meeting with the USA premier, Francis has got into a black Fiat 500L, with the number plate Vatican City and left the air base. During the flight, the bishop of Rome responded to some questions put by the journalists. “If necessary, I will recite the Credo” he said in response to a question about the US conservative environments who question the fact that the Pope is a Catholic and even consider him to be a “communist”. “I am sure – he has made it clear – that I have never said anything, that went beyond the Social Doctrine of the Church”.
He has talked also about the American embargo on Cuba and about the Holy See’s position which is in line – “a well-defined and well-placed one” – with the social doctrine of the Church. Without anticipating the contents of the speech, the Pope has said that at the United States Congress, he will touch on the theme of the “bilateral agreements as signs of progress and harmony”. A journalist asked him whether, during their meeting, Fidel Castro showed signs of repentance for the past suffering of the Church. “We did not talk about the past – he answered – . Repentance is something very intimate, it belongs to the conscience”. “The Church of Cuba has prepared lists of prisoners whom to pardon. And it will continue to do so,” he said with regard to the commitment of the ecclesiastic community on the subject of freedom. “That of the Cuban Church – he has reiterated – is, indeed, a work of lists of pardons. Before my arrival more than 3 thousand prisoners had been pardoned, only in part asked by the Church, and there are still cases being studied. The Cuban Church, is on the path of this work”.
At 9.15 a.m. in New York, will begin the visit of the Pope to the White House . Obama and Francis will meet for 45 minutes in the Oval Office while the vice president Joe Biden and the Secretary of State John Kerry, both Catholics, will meet the secretary of the Vatican State. After leaving the White House, the Pontiff will go to the St. Matthews Cathedral where at 11.15 he will pray together with the American bishops. Then, in the afternoon, at 16.15, he will celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at the Catholic University of America.