By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis met on Tuesday with French President Emmanuel Macron, who later inherited the title of honorary canon of the Lateran Basilica. Macron was accompanied at the papal audience by his wife, Brigitte.
The Pope and the French president discussed protection of the environment, migration, and conflict prevention, according to a communique from the Holy See Press Office.
Their comments on global issues included the need for “multilateral commitment to conflict prevention and resolution, especially in relation to disarmament.”
Each one shared their views on conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, and reflected on the “prospects of the European project.”
Pope Francis and President Macron talked about how religions contribute to “the common good” of France, especially the Catholic Church’s commitment to bettering society.
Exchange of gifts
The two men exchanged gifts, with Pope Francis giving Macron, who was baptized a Catholic at the age of 12, a medallion of St. Martin of Tours, depicted cutting his cloak in half to give it to a beggar in winter.
President Macron gave the Pope a rare copy of Georges Bernanos’ 1936 book “Diary of a Country Priest”.
Afterwards, President Macron met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States.
Honorary Canon of Lateran Basilica
Later in the afternoon, Emmanuel Macron received the title “First and Only Honorary Canon” of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome.
French leaders automatically inherit the title of “Honorary Canon” under a tradition that dates back to the 15th century when France was a monarchy. Cardinal-elect Angelo De Donatis presided over the ceremony and conferred the title on President Macron.