VATICAN CITY, NOV. 6, 2007 (Zenit.org).- For the first time in history, a Saudi Arabian king visited a Pope today; the two discussed the need for collaboration among Christians, Muslims and Jews, especially in supporting the value of the family.
King Abdallah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud met with Benedict XVI today for about 30 minutes in the Vatican. The Saudi Arabian leader then went on to meet with the Pope’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states.
“The meetings took place in a cordial atmosphere and provided an opportunity to consider questions close to the heart of both sides,” the Vatican press office reported. “In particular, the commitment to interreligious and intercultural dialogue aimed at peaceful and fruitful coexistence between individuals and peoples was reiterated, as was the importance of collaboration between Christians, Muslims and Jews for the promotion of peace, justice and spiritual and moral values, especially in support of the family.”
The Vatican authorities expressed their hope for the prosperity of Saudi Arabia’s inhabitants, the communiqué stated. They also mentioned the positive and industrious presence of Christians.
“Finally,” the statement continued, “views were exchanged on the situation in the Middle East and on the need to find a just solution to the conflicts affecting the region, especially that between Israelis and Palestinians.”
The 84-year-old king is the custodian of the mosques of Mecca and Medina.
Saudi Arabia and the Holy See do not maintain diplomatic relations.