Norwegian Monarchs Meet Pope in Audience

Discuss Sept. 11 and Mideast Violence

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 25, 2001 ( King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway met John Paul II in audience today and talked about Mideast violence and the fallout from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Norwegian monarchs also gave the Pope a book on the history of Viking sovereigns.

The King and Queen met with the Pope for 15 minutes, and exchanged “points of view on the grave situation caused by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and on the situation in the Middle East,” Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls said.

The Holy Father and his royal guests also spoke about “the life of the Church in Norway,” and recalled his visit to Oslo in 1989.

The royal couple met with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, after their papal audience.

The Norwegian monarchs will visit Milan on Friday to attend a ceremony in memory of the 118 people who died Oct. 8 in the collision of a Scandinavian Airlines plane with a small private plane.

Although larger than Italy, Norway has only 4.5 million inhabitants. King Harald, 64, who came to the throne in 1991, is also head of the Lutheran Church, which includes 90% of the population. There are 45,000 Catholics in the country.

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