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Eric Adams, Garth Brooks, and the Pope Walk Into the Vatican

Mayor Adams got an audience with Pope Francis. What did they talk about?

Mayor Eric Adams shakes Pope Francis's hand.

(Vatican Media)

Buongiorno! Last Thursday, Mayor Eric Adams left the "demonic energy" of New York City behind to embark on a trip to Rome, Italy, and Vatican City. The trip was paid for by the Fratelli Tutti Foundation, founded by Pope Francis "to encourage initiatives linked to spirituality, art, education, and dialogue with the world." But no junket celebrating fraternity would be complete without one of your boys, and so Frank Carone, Adams's former chief of staff and "the de facto head" of the mayor's reelection campaign was there too (he said he was invited separately). Also…Garth Brooks? When in Rome! Ha ha.

Mayor Adams had a packed schedule—he toured an underground subway tunnel built underneath the Colosseum, had dinner with Nobel laureates, said the phrase "New York is the Rome of America," and visited a welcome center for asylum seekers, where migrants are given health care, basic necessities, and lessons in Italian so they can begin working within a few months of arriving. In other words, the mayor got a glimpse of what it looks like when a city tries to integrate them into their society, instead of making life so miserable that they want to leave.

"Within two months, they target to get folks into working trades, teaching them basic Italian, and moving them forward through the system," Adams said during a video briefing after his visit. "It's extremely impressive on how they're well organized to do so."

But the big event was Adams getting an audience with Pope Francis, which happened at the Vatican on Saturday. 

(Vatican Media)

What did Adams say to the pope? What did the pope say to him? Naturally, the mayor broached the subject on the minds of so many Catholics—Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots.

"I spoke with him about the conflicts that we're seeing globally playing out. I asked for his prayers dealing with the conflict throughout the entire globe in parts of Africa, what we're seeing playing out in Haiti, what we're seeing playing out in the Middle East. I talked about the program and initiative that is in place with the owner of the Patriots, what he's doing around ending antisemitism, I think is so important," Adams said, referring to Kraft's Foundation to Combat Antisemitism. "Mr. Kraft has really focused on this and just dealing with some of the fears that people are feeling. He responded affirmatively and said, 'Eric, please pray for me as well.' That just shows the humanity inside him as a person."

Interesting. And what about Pope's strong anti-war message, and His Holiness's calls for a ceasefire in Gaza? Doesn't Adams's unwavering support for Israel conflict with this?

"The best way to end the war is to dismantle Hamas, bring the hostages home so we can stop any form of death of any innocent people," Adams told a reporter during another virtual briefing. 

Adams continued:

I'm consistent when I talk about the wars that are taking place in Africa and taking place in Ukraine. I stood on the steps of City Hall with my Ukrainian new arrivals. And so there's a level of consistency. It's unfortunate that there is one war going on right now. Because I'm consistent, I'm comfortable in how I've taken a strong stance that children and innocent people should not die globally. I'm not the type of person that is inconsistent in that message. I've been talking this message for many years, and I'm going to continue to say innocent people should not die. That's what we're seeing in far too many places on the globe. New Yorkers have reached out to me of all different faiths, and they have thanked me for being able to have a consistent voice to fight against Islamophobia, antisemitism, anti-Sikhism, and all these other attacks that we're seeing on innocent people. 

"He seemed energized and refreshed," Carone told the Times, referring to his former and perhaps future boss.

By Sunday, however, the mayor was sick with a cold. "Yes, I am a little stuffy," Adams said at his final virtual briefing of the trip. "I feel fine, but air conditioners just kill me all the time. Sitting on the air conditioner of the plane, it was extremely cold, and it just always impacts me."

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