Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput and Bishop Jean Lafitte, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Family, reflected Monday morning on the just-ended papal visit. Here are five of their takeaways from the weekend:
1. Big attendance for World Meeting of Families: The two said 20,000 people attended the World Meeting of Families conference, plus another 2,000 exhibitors. "I'd never seen that," Lafittee said. (For comparison, 7,000 people attended the 2012 meeting in Milan, Italy.)
2. The pope didn't eat a cheesesteak: The official word from Chaput: "He did not eat a cheesesteak." Pope Francis has "very disciplined" eating habits, the archbishop added, and also skipped second helpings at meals. Unspecified "Philadelphia treats" were left in his room at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, but it wasn't known if he ate them.
3. Chaput wasn't too stressed during the visit: Lafitte remarked that Chaput appeared serene and peaceful during the high-profile event. "And I actually was," Chaput said, noting that he trusted his well-prepared and hard-working staff.
4. Meeting with abuse victims wasn't for publicity: The pontiff's meeting Sunday morning with sex-abuse victims at the seminary "wasn't a publicity stunt," Chaput said. The archbishop said Pope Francis wanted to express sadness and apologize to the victims, and "he certainly meant that."
5. On the security measures that led to massive pre-Mass checkpoint lines: "If we had it our way, it would have been simpler, but our way may not have been the best way," Chaput said. He said he was "very slow to criticize" the Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies. The church would have preferred simpler measures, he said, but events like 9/11 and the Boston bombings "have made us very sensitive" and prompted tight security.