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Pope Francis meets Italian Prime Minister

(VIS/Vatican Radio) This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace the Holy Father received in audience Enrico Letta, president of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Italy. They subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

A communique from the Holy See Press Office states that during the cordial discussions, attention was given to social issues and the particular difficulties faced by citizens and institutions in Italy and in the European Union, especially in relation to the adoption of measures creating and protecting employment, in particular for the young. Mention was made of the important contribution that Italian families and Church institutions continue to make towards the stability of the State.

The focus then shifted to matters relating to international politics, with concern expressed at the evolution of the civil and institutional context in countries in the Mediterranean area and the Middle East. Finally, both parties also expressed their desire to continue constructive dialogue on themes of mutual interest for the progress of the Italian State and the benefit of the international community.

After the meeting, Prime Minister Letta said the Pope had shown great interest in his recent visit to the Holy Land, and he had even given the Pope a rosary from the region made from olive wood. The head of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi also said the Prime Minister showed his appreciation for the Holy Father’s upcoming visit to the island of Lampedusa, which holds a migrant centre.

In addition to the rosary, the Prime Minister gave Pope Francis a 16th century volume of the Sermons of St. Thomas, while the Pope gave the Prime Minister a pen from the Vatican Museums, which reproduces a column of the canopy of the altar at St. Peter’s Basilica.