Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the Archbishop of Paris, has spoken about Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming visit to France, saying the visit will be an opportunity for French citizens to “get acquainted” with the Pope.
“Many French people, even Catholics, have never had a chance to see Benedict XVI live,” Cardinal Vingt-Trois said, speaking in a Wednesday interview with Le Croix.
The cardinal noted that some French citizens had met the Pope when as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger he delivered lectures at the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences or the Sorbonne. However, these lectures involved “a rather restricted and quite specialized audience,” according to SIR.
The Pope’s arrival in Paris and Lourdes is a chance for French citizens to know “his personality,” not only his texts or speeches.
Cardinal Vingt-Trois said during the papal visit, people will see “who he is and how he gets on with other people. All that will render their acquaintance with him more human and more concrete.”
The cardinal also tried to calm fears about the kind of reaction Pope Benedict’s scheduled speeches could provoke.
“The Pope says things serenely and clearly; he never wants to provoke or cause arguments. He is a man who knows how to listen and meet the currents of thought of our time,” he said.
According to SRI, the French daily Le Parisien has published the results of a telephone poll showing that 53 percent of Frenchmen have either a “high” or “quite high” opinion of Pope Benedict, with 25 percent reporting they have a low opinion. Among Catholics, 65 percent have a high or very high opinion of the Pontiff.
Over 75 percent of respondents believe Pope Benedict is conservative, a figure Le Parisien attributes to “the acceptance of the Latin Mass among the French general public.”