Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba has on Sunday become the first Colombian to have a private audience with Pope Francis, the new pontiff of the Catholic church.
“I went to his office [in the Vatican] and asked if I could speak with him, I thought that it would be a no, but he received me,” recounted Bishop Cordoba, the Diocese of fontibon in the country’s capital of Bogota.
They spoke for about ten minutes about the Society of Jesus, Cordoba’s career, and the Colombian peace process between the government and left-wing rebel group FARC.
Cordoba said that the Pope agreed to visit Colombia, although he mentioned no specific date.
“I do not know when, but it’s clear I have to go [to Colombia],” said the pope.
Bishop Cordoba first met the future pope over thirty years ago, in 1982, while on a religious retreat in Buenos Aires. Cordoba described the pope at that time as an individual who could “carry positions of responsibility and leadership.”
The two also met less than two years ago in Colombia’s capital of Bogota, at an episcopal conference of which Cordoba was the secretary. The pope reportedly described Bogota as “a beautiful city, very green, tropical, cheerful, elegant,” before adding that what hurt him the most about Latin American cities was that “behind the beauty there are many poor and many social problems.”
- Monsenor Juan Vicente Cordoba, primer colombiano con el Papa (El Espectador)
- Mananas Blu (Blu Radio)
- El obispo que paseo en Bogota a Francisco (El Tiempo)