Pope Speaks of Tragic Family Accident

Expresses Gratitude for Prayers and Condolences, Says ‘Even the Pope Has a Family’

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Pope Francis has thanked the faithful for their prayers for his relatives who were killed and injured yesterday in a car crash in Argentina.

At the close of this morning’s weekly audience, he said: “I thank you for the prayers and condolences for what happened in my family.”

“Even the Pope has a family,” he continued. “We are 5 siblings, I have 16 nieces and nephews. One of these nephews had a car accident. His wife died as well as two young children; one was 2 years old and the other only a few months old. And he right now is in critical condition.

“I thank you so much, so much, for your condolences and prayers,” he said.

The car accident, which took place in the country’s Cordoba province, claimed the lives of two grandnephews of the pontiff, Antonio aged 8 months and Jose aged 2, along with their mother 39 year old mother, Valeria Carmona.

The Pope’s nephew, Emanuel Horacio Bergoglio, 35, remains in criticial condition in hospital. He is the son of the Pope’s late brother, Alberto Bergoglio.

Reports say the car carrying the family was travelling between Cordoba and Rosario when it struck a truck loaded with corn. 

Yesterday, Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, said in a statement the Pope “was informed of the tragic incident that happened to some of his relatives and is deeply saddened. He asks that all those sharing in his grief join with him in prayer.”

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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