Pope Francis met this morning with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Angola at the Vatican Apostolic Palace. President dos Santos was accompanied by his wife Ana Paola dos Santos, and several member of his government.
The Holy Father and the Angolan president spoke privately for roughly 20 minutes. According to a communique released by the Holy See Press Office, the two leaders discussed the “good relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Angola.”
“In particular, mention was made of the planned bilateral Agreement regarding the legal state of the Catholic Church in the country,” the communique stated. “In this context, reference was also made to the important contribution offered by the Catholic Church to the country through its educational and healthcare institutions.”
The press release also stated that the Pope and the Angolan president discussed the fight against poverty, social inequality and various situations of conflict in the African continent.
During the exchange of gifts, President dos Santos gave the Holy Father a statue depicting a mother and child as well as a an artistic model of St. Peter’s Square. Both pieces were created by local artists from Angola.
For his part, Pope Francis gave President dos Santos a bronze medallion of St. Martin. “The inscription reads: ‘The Angel of peace that overcomes evil,” the Pope explained to the president. Along with the medallion, the Holy Father gave President dos Santos a copy of his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, in Portuguese.
At the conclusion of the audience, Pope Francis told President dos Santos, “Pray for me.” Shortly after, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, met with the Angolan Head of State, along with members of his government.