Pope Francis wants to pray at the former German Nazi Concentration Camp Auschwitz located in Poland.
Pope Francis has informed Andrzej Duda, the Polish President, of his intention to visit the German Nazi-era Auschwitz concentration camp when he will visit the country in 2016. The Pope is scheduled to attend the World Youth Day to be held in Krakow. President Duda visited Francis on November 9 to discuss the Papal visit.
Pope Francis, who is an Argentinian citizen, has expressed his desire to make a stopover at the famous Czestochowa Catholic Shrine during his visit. Information about a papal visit to Auschwitz was not confirmed by the Vatican. It is to be mentioned that two other popes before him- John-Paul II and Benedict XVI, have visited the World War II-era German camp in Poland during their respective visits. The Vatican has issued a statement that both the Pope and the President of Poland have discussed various world affairs. These include the Ukrainian situation, the Middle East and the migrant crisis seemingly thronging Europe. The last is a very sensitive issue to the Polish.
Pope Francis told Poland's President he'd like to visit Auschwitz when he's in Krakow, Poland for World Youth Day, at end of July 2016
— Gerard O'Connell (@gerryorome) November 9, 2015
There is a good reason for Polish government's hesitation to take more refugees. The President himself is a member of Law and Justice, the ruling party holding the reins of government. Poland has shown considerable reluctance to take in refugees streaming into Europe from Syria and Iraq. The Pope has requested the European governments to go for an open approach.
The Catholic Church organizes World Youth Day, an international conference, at three year intervals. The venue rotates among different countries. The last World Youth Day conference took place in July, 2013, at Rio de Janeiro. The next conference is scheduled the Poland Capital between July 25 to July 31. It is expected that the festival will attract about one million young persons within the celebratory four days.
This is not the first time the Pope has expressed his desire to drop in the Auschwitz concentration camp, a potent symbol of Holocaust. The Pope's interest has also been mentioned by the archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz. Both the Polish President and Cardinal have said that the pontiff wants to visit Marian shrine of Black Madonna located at Czestochowa. The Vatican has followed its usual protocols and will not publicize the program to be taken by the Pope until a few months prior to the trip.