This is information revealed this morning by the newspaper The cross (Bayard): Emmanuel Macron is expected to participate on September 23 in the mass celebrated by Pope Francis at the Vélodrome stadium in Marseille, where 60,000 people are expected. The president should also attend the conclusion of the Mediterranean Meetings which motivate the visit of Pope Francis to the Marseille city.
For several days, seventy bishops and as many young people from both sides of the Mediterranean (North Africa, Balkans, Latin Europe, Black Sea and Middle East) will meet from September 17 to 24 to discuss the challenges of the Mediterranean rim. At the heart of the discussions in this third edition: the migration question.
On the plane returning from WYD last August, the sovereign pontiff insisted on the fact that he was going “to Marseille but not to France”. “The problem that concerns me is the Mediterranean problem, that’s why I’m going to France,” he explained at the time.
Migration, end of life…
If it is therefore not a state visit, he will still meet Emmanuel Macron on September 23. The two men will speak at the Pharo Palace during a private meeting. Unsurprisingly, immigration is expected to be an issue addressed by both men. Likewise, the question of end of life will undoubtedly also be addressed. While the bill authorizing “active assistance in dying” was to be presented on Thursday, September 21, it was postponed due to the arrival of the Pope. During a meeting in the fall of 2022, when Emmanuel Macron had put the subject on the table himself, Pope Francis told him: “I know that you will not do anything stupid.”
Between Emmanuel Macron and Pope Francis, a privileged link
Emmanuel Macron has, on several occasions, demonstrated his attachment to the Argentine Jesuit, whom he visited three times in Rome. Moreover, the two men speak informally to each other. Until then, no president of the Fifth Republic had met a sovereign pontiff so often during his mandate. During the last visit of a pope to France, it was Prime Minister François Fillon who attended the mass celebrated by Benedict XVI at Les Invalides, in Paris, on September 13, 2008.