VATICAN CITY, NOV. 14, 2011 ( The president of the European Council visited Benedict XVI today in the Vatican.

According to a brief statement released by the Vatican press office, the Pope and Herman Van Rompuy spoke about the contributions that the Church wants to make to the European Union.

"In the course of the meeting, attention also turned to the promotion of human rights and, in particular, of religious freedom," the communiqué added.

Van Rompuy went on to meet with the Holy Father's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and the secretary for relations with states, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.