Philippine President Gets an Audience

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 28, 2003 ( John Paul II received Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in audience over the weekend.

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The Pope seemed in better health than on Wednesday, when an intestinal ailment kept him from attending the general audience. He met briefly with Arroyo in private Saturday.

The Holy Father met later with the president’s entourage, including her husband who was carrying their months-old son. John Paul II patted the child tenderly and blessed him.

Presents were then exchanged. Arroyo gave the Pope a 17th-century tabernacle.

The Vatican press office has not published the issues that were discussed during the meeting.

Following his meeting with Arroyo, the Pope continued his series of audiences with Philippine bishops who are in Rome for their five-yearly visit to the Holy See.

On Sept. 25, John Paul II met with one group of Philippine prelates and told them that “religious leaders have a vital role to play in the campaign against terrorism and violence.”

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