New Italian President Meets with Pope Francis

Discuss How Church Alleviates Hardship, Spreading of Violence

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Pope Francis has met with President Sergio Mattarella, marking the first meeting of the Pontiff and the new Italian head of state.

According to a communiqué released by the Holy See Press Office, the President of the Italian Republic made his first official meeting with the Holy Father on Saturday morning at the Vatican, where both the Pope and Vatican Secretary of State delivered discourses welcoming the politician.

«During the cordial discussions,» the statement noted, «satisfaction was expressed for the good relations between the Holy See and Italy, further consolidated by the recent signing of the Convention on fiscal matters.”

Themes relevant to the Italian social situation were then considered, it continued, adding particular reference was made to the family, education, work and migration.

«Appreciation was affirmed for the cooperation of the Catholic Church in alleviating the situations of hardship that characterize some sectors of society,» it stated, adding, «Mention was also made, within the framework of the current international situation, of the worrying spread of violence that continues to affect the eastern Mediterranean and North African areas.»

It also said the parties confirmed their willingness «to pursue their active collaboration on a bilateral level in the context of the international community, especially with regard to the promotion and protection of religious freedom and the dignity of human beings.»

The president was accompanied by the Honorable Paolo Gentiloni, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and after meeting with the Holy Father, met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.

Sergio Mattarella was elected president Feb. 3, 2015, after former head of state, President Giorgio Napolitano, due to turn 90 in June, stepped down after his long term in the role.     

In March, President Mattarella offered a breakfast at the Quirinale, the presidential headquarters, to Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, together with the newly appointed Italian cardinals created by Pope Francis, in this year’s Feb. 14 consistory.


On ZENIT’s Web page:

Pope’s Address to President:

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': or

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