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‘Si,’ Says Pope Francis of 2015 Visit; We’ll See, Cautions Phila. Archdiocese

By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — You can’t get much more definitive than an unqualified “yes.”  And that was the word from Pope Francis today when he was asked if he’s traveling to Philadelphia next year.

Francis replied “si” when asked (in Italian, by NBC News) whether he’d be at the World Meeting of Families here in Philadelphia, set for September 2015.

But the Archdiocese of Philadelphia isn’t quite ready to let us take the pope’s word as gospel.

In a statement, an archdiocesan spokesman says, “There has been no official confirmation by the Vatican” — only that Archbishop Charles Chaput is “confident” Francis is coming, based on their conversations and comments from the Vatican press office.

That official word isn’t expected until next spring.

Philadelphia officials are considering the Benjamin Franklin Parkway — where a million people turned out to see Pope John Paul II in 1979 — as well as several other sites for a potential papal visit that looks more and more like a sure thing.

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