Pope Francis received Karolos Papoulias, the president of Greece, at the Vatican Apostolic Palace this morning.
In a communique released by the Holy See Press Office, the discussions that took place centered on areas of common interest, mainly the legal status of religious communities and the role of religion in society.
Ecumenical collaboration within Greece, where 98% of the population are Greek Orthodox Christians, was also discussed.
The press note also stated that the conversations between the Greek Head of State and the Holy See turned to the worldwide economic crisis. Greece has suffered the brunt of the financial crisis. According to a report released by ‘The Guardian’, a survey conducted by Caritas Internationalis expressed concerns that austerity measures in place by the government is hurting more than helping.
Referring to the political scene as “increasingly toxic”, Caritas states that this has lead “to support for extreme right-wing parties, who are nostalgic about fascist ideologies, a crisis that also has the potential to undermine all the institutions that Europe has worked hard to establish.”
After his meeting with Pope Francis, President Papoulias met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States. (J.A.E.)