Paraguayan and Pontiff Discuss Church/State Relations

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 29, 2007 ( Benedict XVI and the president of Paraguay discussed the role of Church and state in political life during a visit of the latter to the Vatican.

Óscar Nicanor Duarte Frutos met with the Pope today for 25 minutes. Afterward, the South American leader met with the Pontiff’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states.

“The cordial meetings served to consider questions concerning the current situation of Paraguay, with particular attention being given to the specific roles of Church and state in political life and in the human, moral, educational an socioeconomic development of the nation,” the Vatican press office reported. “The hope was expressed that Paraguayan society may continue along the path of the common good, of legality and of social peace, inspired by the Christian values of justice and of respect among all citizens.”

At the moment of the traditional exchange of gifts, the Paraguayan entourage was empty-handed. The luggage containing the gifts — a traditional Paraguayan poncho woven with 60 colors and a gift of silver — was lost in the flight from France to Italy, due to an airport strike.

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