Pope Meets With President of El Salvador

Leader Says Pontiff Called Archbishop Romero «Man of Peace»

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 19, 2005 (Zenit.org).-
El Salvador’s president met with Benedict XVI in audience and later said that they discussed the beatification process of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the general situation of Latin America.

In statements to the press after the audience Saturday, President Elías Saca said that the Pope referred to Archbishop Romero of San Salvador as «a man of peace and dialogue.»

Archbishop Romero was assassinated on March 24, 1980, while celebrating Mass.

Saca added that Benedict XVI believes the cause for the archbishop’s beatification «must go forward, but he is opposed to the political use made of the archbishop over recent years.»

During the half-hour meeting, Benedict XVI revealed his extensive knowledge about the current events of Latin America, and expressed his concern about the situation in the continent, Saca said.

The Salvadoran leader said he was impressed to see how well informed the Bishop of Rome is on what has been happening in El Salvador «over these years, since the war, in the peace process, up to now.»

«The Pope’s knowledge of our country and of the Latin American reality is impressive,» Saca said.

The president of El Salvador invited Benedict XVI to visit his country. The president said the Pope was grateful for the invitation and said he would keep it in mind.

The Holy Father’s meeting with Saca was the first of his pontificate with a Latin American president.

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