The flag of Scotland./ Lynx Aqua/Shutterstock.
Pope Francis will visit Scotland “for a very short time” in November, a spokesperson for the country’s bishops’ conference said Monday.
The pope is expected to attend the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) taking place in Glasgow on Nov. 1-12.
“The pope will be in Scotland for a very short time, most of which will be spent participating in the COP26 conference,” the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland spokesperson said July 12.
“While many pastoral, ecumenical, and interfaith gatherings would be desirable while he is with us, time constraints sadly mean such a full program will not be possible.”
During a visit to the Vatican in May, John Kerry, U.S. President Joe Biden’s special envoy for climate, noted that the pope “intends to attend” the U.N. Climate Change Conference.
Kerry met with Pope Francis privately on May 15. In a video clip released by the Vatican, Kerry could be heard telling members of his staff, “first day he’ll be there with the heads of state.”
A “world leaders’ summit” is scheduled to take place on Nov. 1-2, the opening two days of the meeting.
Last month, the Vatican announced plans to partner in an event bringing together scientists and leaders of the world’s religions ahead of COP26.
“Faith and Science: Towards COP26” will take place on Oct. 4 at the Vatican. The event is being organized by the British and Italian Embassies to the Holy See.
At a press conference on June 17, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, said it was “highly likely” that the pope would participate in the October meeting given his commitment to the issue of climate change.
The Vatican has made no official announcement about the pope travelling to Glasgow in November.
Pope Francis is currently recuperating in hospital following a surgery on his colon.
“Scotland’s bishops express their prayerful support for Pope Francis as he recovers from his recent surgery,” the spokesperson said.
“Having written to the Holy Father to assure him of a warm welcome, should he attend the conference, they are delighted to hear that he does hope to attend and would be glad to meet with them in Glasgow.”