Pope Francis meets Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a private audience at the Vatican City

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Pope Meets Canadian Prime Minister

Discussed Canada’s Commitment to Promote Religious Freedom

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The good relations existing between the Holy See and Canada were at the center of discussions today between Pope Francis and the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, when they met this morning in the Vatican.

According to a statement released by the Holy See Press Office, their discussions were ‘cordial’ and highlighted the positive spirit of cooperation and dialogue between the Canadian federal government and the Church.

“In particular, Canada’s commitment to defend and promote religious freedom in the context of fundamental human rights were treated,” it stated.

It added that international political issues were also discussed. such as Europe and the Middle East and prospects for peace in that region, the fight against terrorism and environmental issues.

After meeting with Pope Francis, the Canadian Prime Minister subsequently met with Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States.

Of Canada’s some 34,835,000 people, Catholics make up about 41% of the predominantly Christian nation.

Last month, Canada celebrated its third national week for life and the family. The nation’s bishops have been vocal in protecting life and marriage, as well as condemning trafficking, abortion, and assisted suicide. Canada’s Supreme Court in February struck down a ban on assisted suicide.

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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, at times from the papal flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio, Sky, and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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