On Friday afternoon, Pope Francis met with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti at the Domus Sanctae Marthae in Vatican City. The Prime Minister, who was accompanied by his wife Elsa, met with the Holy Father in a meeting that lasted roughly 20 minutes.
In a communique released the same day, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office stated that the Holy Father and Prime Minister Monti discussed several important topics such as the current situation in Italy, European integration and its prospects, and immigration.
“Prime Minister Monti also told the Holy Father that his father was born in Argentina in 1900 in Luhan,” Fr. Lombardi stated. The location, the director of the Holy See Press Office continued, is noted by the presence of the most famous Marian shrines in the country.
In an exchange of gifts, the Italian Prime Minister gave the Holy Father a triptych of pens, identical to those he gave to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in his last visit. He also gave the Pope two books: one book on the Cathedrals of Europe and a an autographed copy of a book on Democracy in Europe, which was co-authored by Monti and Sylvie Goulard.
For his part, the Holy Father gave Monti an autographed book which contained the first discourses of his pontificate, along with a set of Vatican coins and a rosary.