VATICAN CITY — Fluency in English and other languages has long been considered a prerequisite for a pope.
Blessed Pope John Paul II arguably set the standard, learning as many as 12 languages and speaking eight of them fluently. Benedict XVI, his successor, was reputed to be fluent in seven and was particularly proficient in French, the first foreign language he learned.
But Pope Francis’ linguistic abilities are, by his own admission, significantly inferior. Apart from Spanish, his mother tongue, he knows German and Italian well, although he admits the former is rusty.
The Holy Father prefers not to publicly speak any languages other than Italian at general audiences, the summaries...READ MORE