This afternoon the Holy See’s Press Office clarified Pope Benedict’s decision to not grant an audience to the various heads of state who are in Rome for the U.N. food security meeting, saying that it was due to the large number of requests, the small window of time available and prior commitments.
A statement issued today by the Press Office notes that “certain journalistic suppositions that have been circulating in the media over the last few days,” and that these caused it to issue a clarification on the Pope’s inability to grant an audience.
According to the statement this Holy Father could not meet with the world leaders because of “the number of requests, the limited time available, and prior commitments.”
“In this context, the Cardinal Secretary of State has written personally to each of the leaders concerned, informing them of the Holy Father's disappointment at the impossibility, on this occasion, of meeting them personally, and reaffirming his willingness to receive them on a future occasion.”
The Vatican also underscored an announcement from April 2006 by the Secretariat of State which said that accepting requests for audiences during international conferences and congresses would not be possible for the Pope.