Irish President Meets With Benedict XVI

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 23, 2007 ( Discussion during Benedict XVI’s audience with Irish President Mary McAleese underlined the importance of Europe’s Christian roots.

The Vatican press office reported that the Pope and the Irish leader also discussed in today’s meeting the peace process in Northern Ireland.

“In the course of the discussions, which took place in an atmosphere of great cordiality, attention turned to problems associated with the situation of the Church in Ireland, concentrating particularly on the positive start of ‘structured dialogue’ between the state and Churches — in the spirit of the new European Constitutional Treaty — as a promising way toward a positive contribution of Churches to the life of society,” the press office said.

The English statement continued: “Consideration was also given to other more general questions such as the construction of Europe and its Christian roots, and developments in the peace process in Northern Ireland.

“Particular appreciation was expressed for Irish commitment to providing disinterested aid for the development of the poorest countries of Africa, with its White Paper on Aid.”

After the meeting with the Holy Father, the Irish president was received by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state.

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