Pope Francis has said he was ‘deeply saddened’ to hear of the death in November of his sister-in-law and her husband, Father James Altman, an Irish priest who died in the Philippines in 2016.
Pope Francis has told a crowd of around 3,000 people gathered in the Basilica of St Peter in the Vatican that the death is a ‘great loss to our family’ but that he is ‘still trying to cope’.
“I feel so saddened and I know you are too.
My heart goes out to you.
I want to thank you, you are a very special man,” Francis said, speaking before the crowd.”
You are the most special man.
I pray for you,” he said.
Pope Benedict XVI also spoke about the passing of his late brother, Pope Francis, in a speech at the Vatican’s St Peter’s Basilica.
“He is my brother and I love him very much, but we have to understand that the Vatican is the home of God,” he told the audience.
“The church is the house of God, and I cannot say much more than that.”
Pope Francis said the two had known each other since childhood, but were never close, adding that the two were ‘not connected by a blood relationship’.
Pope Francis, who is also known for his fiery style of speaking, said he could not wait for the next meeting of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace to take place in November.
“It’s an opportunity to bring the people of the world together, because I think it will be a great opportunity for peace,” he added.
“I hope that it will lead to a new era of peace and reconciliation,” he concluded.