LEICESTER, United Kingdom – A spokesperson for the Catholic Church in Scotland says Pope Francis won’t celebrate Mass when he visits Glasgow for a UN climate conference.
In July, the Scottish bishops’ conference confirmed the pontiff would be in Scotland “for a very short time” for the Oct. 31-Nov. 12 conference. Although no date was given, world leaders will be addressing the conference Nov. 1 and Nov. 2.
On Sunday, an unnamed source told the Mail on Sunday that Francis wished to celebrate a public Mass while in Scotland.
“While the pope is saying Mass is not 100 percent confirmed, we have had word that he wants to do it and that’s why people are looking at the practicalities, such as a venue and timing, depending on the rest of his pretty tight schedule,” the source told the newspaper.
“It would have to fit in with his address to the conference and his meeting with the bishops. There is some doubt about whether it can be fitted in, but the pope says Mass every day and would like to say a Mass for the people of Scotland,” the source continued. “It’s not absolutely confirmed, but he wants to do it, and if the Pope wants to say mass for the Scottish public, there is going to be a huge desire to make it happen.”
However, a spokesperson for the Catholic Church in Scotland told the BBC on Monday, “Our position on this is that there are no plans for a Mass whatsoever.”
“Our understanding is that the window will be extremely tight and there will be enough time to meet the global leaders, and once the official part is over, to meet the bishops, and that is it. A public Mass is not something the Church is expecting, because of time constraints,” the spokesperson said.
Francis has made visits without public liturgies previously in his pontificate. On Nov. 25, 2014, he visited the European Parliament and Council of Europe offices in Strasbourg, France, for a short four-hour journey, without celebrating Mass. On Feb. 12, 2016, Francis met with Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church for a historic meeting at José Martí International Airport in Havana, Cuba, without any other public appearances in the country.
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