U2 front man Bono had a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican Wednesday afternoon, saying afterward the Holy Father was “incredibly gracious with his time, his concentration.”Speaking to journalists following the just over 30-minute meeting Sept. 19, Bono said they “let the conversation go where it wanted to go,” discussing “big themes,” such as the future of commerce and how it might serve sustainable development goals.
Irishman Bono, born Paul David Hewson, also said that having just come from Ireland, they “inevitably” spoke about “the pope’s feelings about what has happened in the Church.”
He said he explained to Francis that to some it looks like “the abusers are being more protected than the victims,” and that he “could see the pain” in the pope’s face. “I felt he was sincere, and I think he’s an extraordinary man for extraordinary times,” Bono said.
Bono met Pope Francis alongside the president of the pontifical foundation Scholas Occurrentes, José María del Corral.
Scholas is an international organization founded by Pope Francis as an initiative to encourage social integration and the culture of encounter among youth through technology, arts and sports.
Bono is a co-founder of the ONE Campaign, an advocating organization that aims to combat poverty, which signed an agreement to partner with Scholas.
He said the exact way in which the two organizations will work together is yet to be decided, but he is looking forward to the partnership and really admires the work Scholas does.
This was Bono’s second papal meeting. He also had an audience with St. John Paul II in 1999.
Bono is the second U2 member to meet Pope Francis in recent years after the band’s lead guitarist, The Edge, greeted the pope during an audience as part of a Vatican conference on regenerative medicine in 2016.