(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received Their Majesties King Tupou VI of Tonga and Queen Nanasipau’u Tuku’aho in an audience in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican Monday. The monarchs later met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Paul Gallagher, secretary for Relations with States.
A statement released by the Vatican’s Press Office said:
His Majesty first expressed his satisfaction at the election of the first Cardinal from the Pacific archipelago, Cardinal Soane Patita Paini Mafi, underlining the enthusiasm of the population and the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and numerous Tongans at the Ordinary Public Consistory held on 14 February. During the cordial discussions, attention was paid to the recent political developments in the country and on a number of aspects of social and economic life, as well as the positive contribution of the Catholic Church in various areas of society. There was subsequently an exchange of opinions on the international situation, with particular reference to the insular States of the Pacific and the environmental problems that some of them are compelled to face.