(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday morning received in audience the President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, who subsequently met with the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States.
Listen to Vatican Radio's report:
President Macri assumed office in December, and was previously the Head of Government of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires from 2007 to 2015. Previously, he represented the City of Buenos Aires in the lower house of Argentina’s Congress from 2005 to 2007. Pope Francis served as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires from 1998 until his election to the see of Peter in 2013.
A statement released by the Holy See Press Office called the meeting between the two men “cordial,” and said this “demonstrated the good bilateral relations between the Holy See and the Argentine Republic.”
The statement went on to say themes of common interest were considered, such as assistance for integral development, respect for human rights, the fight against poverty and drug trafficking, justice, peace and social reconciliation.
In this context – the statement continued - the positive contribution of the episcopate and Catholic institutions in Argentine society was reiterated, especially in the fields of human promotion and the formation of the new generations, and particularly in the current economic climate. Finally, reference was made to various issues of broader significance and interest at regional and global level.
During the encounter, President Macri gave Pope Francis several gifts, including a poncho, CD’s with traditional Argentine music and tango, and a wooden Matara Cross, the symbol of evangelization in Latin America.
Pope Francis gave the President a Peace Medallion, with the symbol of an olive tree.