Pope meets French President Emmanuel Macron
By Deborah Castellano Lubov
Pope Francis received French President Emmanuel Macron in the Vatican on Monday.
This marks their third private audience since the start of the pontificate.
War in Ukraine
According to a brief statement from the Holy See Press Office, the conversations were cordial and were especially focused on the ongoing war in Ukraine.
"During the cordial discussions, which took place in the Secretariat of State," it said, "the parties focused on matters of an international nature, starting from the conflict in Ukraine, with special attention to the humanitarian situation."
"Particular consideration," it continued, "was given to the region of the Caucasus, the Middle East, and Africa."
After meeting with Pope Francis, President Macron met with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Vatican Secretary for Relations with States and Multilateral Organizations, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher.
Exchange of gifts
The audience with the Pope in the Apostolic Palace lasted almost an hour, and there was the customary exchange of gifts.
The Pope gifted a collection of his works, as well as a bronze medallion representing Saint Peter and the colonnade. The papal documents included this year's Message for Peace, the Document on Human Fraternity, and the book on the Statio Orbis of 27 March 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The French President gifted the Pope a first edition, in French, of the book For Perpetual Peace by German philosopher Emmanuel Kant.
On Sunday, President Macron was among the opening speakers at the Rome-held ‘Spirit of Assisi’ event, sponsored by the Community of Sant’Egidio.
The three-day annual peace event, whose theme this year as war wages on in Ukraine is ‘The Cry for Peace,’ will conclude with the speech and participation of Pope Francis on Tuesday at the Colosseum at the prayer for peace.
On Sunday evening, President Macron also met with Italy's new Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni.
The French president had previously visited the Pope on 26 November 2021 and 26 June 2018.
During those meetings, issues of major concern were the situation of refugees and migrants, climate change, and the Middle East.
Over the years, the Pope and French President have had several phone calls, including when the Pope expressed his condolences for the 2020 stabbing attack at the Notre Dame Cathedral de Nice, where three people were killed; and when the French President contacted the Pope to emphasize the significance of his Apostolic Visit to Iraq in 2021, marking the first-ever visit of a Pope to the war-torn Middle Eastern country.
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