Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, yesterday called Pope Francis an “extraordinary man for extraordinary times” in a press conference at the Vatican. Source: CNS.
Bono met with the Pope to sign an agreement between his charity, ONE, and the Scholas Occurentes educational charity supported by Pope Francis.
During the half-hour meeting, Bono said, he brought up Pope Francis’ recent trip to Ireland and the concerns there about the sexual abuse crisis.
He said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland “it looks as though the abusers are being more protected than the victims. And you could see the pain in his face.”
The pope was “aghast,” Bono said. “I thought he was sincere.”
“I think he is an extraordinary man for extraordinary times,” the singer said.
ONE is a campaign and advocacy effort working to end extreme poverty, especially in Africa. One of its current focuses, Bono told reporters, is education for girls and young women.
Some “130 million girls around the world do not go to school, because they are girls,” he said.
“Poverty is sexist” is the campaign slogan, he said.
Scholas began in Pope Francis’ Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, supporting education in poor neighbourhoods by pairing their schools with private schools and institutions in wealthier neighbourhoods. The organisation has grown to other countries and supports a variety of exchange programs aimed at promoting education, encouraging creativity and teaching young people about respect, tolerance and peace.
“We haven’t figured out what we are going to do together,” Bono said, “but we sort of have a crush on each other.”
Describing Jose Maria del Corral, president of Scholas, Bono said that “honestly, he is quite a radical thinker and I felt quite old-fashioned sitting next to him.”
In May, U2 caused controversy among fans by supporting Ireland’s Repeal the Eighth referendum campaign, which allowed the government to legislate for abortion. According to The Irish Times, the band tweeted an image to Repeal illustration to their 1.58 million Twitter followers, beseeching Irish fans to vote in the referendum.
U2 support repeal of Eighth Amendment on eve of new tour (Irish Times)
Catholic U2 fans now have a horrible dilemma (Catholic Herald)