El Salvador President Visits Pontiff

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 7, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI and the president of El Salvador discussed today the Central American nation’s fight against organized crime.

This was one of the themes touched upon when Elías Antonio Saca González visited the Pope in the Vatican. The president went on to meet with the Holy Father’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

According to a statement from the Holy See: “In the course of the cordial discussions, attention focused on various questions concerning internal issues and the current international situation noting, among other things, the country’s commitment to promoting cooperation in the area of trade, to the struggle against organized crime, to the field of education and emigration, and to social promotion.

“Finally, the good relations between Church and state were highlighted, and the hope expressed that they may grow stronger in order to favor spiritual progress, pacification and national development.”

The El Salvadorian president is set to leave office June 1.

He was accompanied today, his third time at the Vatican, by his wife, Ana Ligia de Saca, and a 12-person entourage.

Close to 60% of El Salvador’s more than 7 million citizens are Catholic.

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