(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday received the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz, in private audience in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:
The meeting between Pope Francis and President Schultz was an occasion for the two men to look ahead to the Pope’s journey to Strasbourg scheduled to take place next month.
They had already met here in the Vatican exactly one year ago when Schultz’s visit coincided with the publication of an essay written by him to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Saint Pope John II’s visit to the European Parliament back in 1988.
“It would be a great honour” – Schultz wrote in an editorial at the time – to hear again the message of the Holy Father, his words of foresight, solidarity and hope”. And it was in that occasion that he invited Pope Francis to address the plenary yet again, something he will do in the morning of November 25 before going on to give another address to members of the Council of Europe.
After his first audience with the Pope, President Schulz released a statement on his visit saying there are many issues on which the two men share similar views and on which – he said – we can join forces: like “the protection of refugees in the Mediterranean, the fight against poverty and social exclusion or improving the prospects of young people both within and outside the EU”.
During a brief encounter with a few journalists after the meeting, President Schultz told me that today details of the visit to Strasbourg were further defined…
"We prepared the visit of the Pope to the European Parliament which I think is an exceptional moment for the European Parliament and we talked about the circumstances and the political framework the Pope will find when he delivers his address".
Obviously, he didn’t give too much away, but he did tell me that European Parliamentarians - across the spectrum - are preparing to give Pope Francis a unanimous warm and enthusiastic welcome.
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