Pontiff Greets Guatemala's President

Discusses Poverty, Emigration

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 26, 2010, (Zenit.org).-  Benedict XVI discussed the problems of poverty and emigration facing Guatemala upon receiving in audience the country’s president, Álvaro Colom Caballeros.

A communique issued after the meeting reported that «during the cordial discussions attention turned to the good relations that exist between Church and state, and to the specific contribution the Church makes to the country’s development.»

«There followed an exchange of opinions on the international situation, with particular reference to the challenges of poverty, organised crime and emigration,» the noted added. «The discussions also served to underline the importance of promoting human life from the moment of conception, and of the role played by education.»

After the meeting, the president met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state, who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states.

In statements to the press after the meeting, Colom noted that the meeting was «very good, very energetic.»

He said Benedict XVI was «very, very human. He spoke a lot of helping those who have the least.»

The president confirmed that they spoke of «poverty, indigenous populations, and of course, the right to life and everything related to human rights, the environment, concern for climate change and its effects on Guatemala.»

Colom said that he invited the Pontiff to visit Guatemala, and the Holy Father «didn’t say no, but he didn’t say yes, either.»

«But the sub-secretary of state is going in a few months to Guatemala, and this could be a good start,» he added.

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