2009-10-12 14:34:49

Pope receives Belgian royal couple, French PM

(October 12, 2009) Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday received King Albert II of Belgium and French prime minister, François Fillon. Receiving King Albert II of Belgium and his wife Paola in a private audience the Pope discussed with him issues concerning Africa, international politics, respect for human rights and the development of peoples. The royal couple of Belgium, in Rome for Sunday’s canonization of Fr. Damien Jozef De Veuster, reflected with the Pope on Blessed Damien’s example to Belgium and the whole world," a Vatican statement said after the meeting. After the audience, King Albert met Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.
Pope Benedict also received in separate audience French Prime Minister, François Fillon, and discussed with him the his trip to Paris and Lourdes in September last year, and the importance of the canonization of Blessed Jeanne Jugan," the founder of the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor, one of the five new saints of Catholic Church declared on Sunday. "Certain themes of common interest regarding bilateral relations were reviewed with the intention of continuing along the good road of dialogue and cooperation between the Holy See and the French Republic," a Vatican statement said. "There was also an exchange of views about some international issues, especially the situation in the Middle East and certain African countries with reference to the Synod for Africa, interreligious dialogue and climate changes.” "Finally, the positive influence of the encyclical 'Caritas in Veritate' in relation to the global economic crisis was touched on along with new rules to be set in place for the well functioning of the economy, especially in respect to the poorest countries." Fillon then met Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and the secretary for relations with states, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti.

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