Pope Francis met Bolivian President Evo Morales on Tuesday evening.
The Latin American leader was part of the World Gathering of Popular Movements, organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The meeting brought together 200 representatives from advocacy organizations and movements from throughout the world.
The Vatican said President Morales’ visit wasn’t therefore “organized through the usual diplomatic channels.”
It added that the “private and informal meeting” was an “expression of affection and closeness to the people and the Church in Bolivia and support for the improvement of relations between the authorities and the Church in the country.”
Morales attended the gathering in his capacity as an indigenous person and leader. In a speech to delegates, he discussed the need to defend creation. “We cannot allow the capitalist system to turn the land into a mere system,” he said, adding that the planet can survive without humans but mankind cannot survive without the planet.
The Bolivian head of state also said the concentration of land in the hands of the few “is the source of all social injustices.”