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     Home > Culture and Society  >  2013-07-05 16:33:03
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Pope meets Italian prime minister, Rome mayor

05 July, 2013 - Pope Francis Thursday morning received in the Vatican, Italian prime minister Enrico Letta, who later met Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone along with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States. The Vatican said that the cordial talks focussed on social issues, particularly the difficulties faced by citizens and institutions in Italy and in the European Union, especially with regard to efforts to create and protect jobs. In this regard, the Holy See and Italy acknowledged the important contribution of Italian families and Church institutions to the stability of the state. With regard to international politics, they expressed concern over developments in the civil and institutional sectors in the Mediterranean and the Middle East regions. Both sides agreed to continue collaboration for progress in Italy and the good of the international community.
Prime Minister Letta later said the Pope showed great interest in his recent visit to the Holy Land. Holy See spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said the Italian prime minister expressed appreciation for the Holy Father’s upcoming visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa, on Monday. Letta gifted the Pope an olive wood rosary from the Holy Land and a 16th century volume of the Sermons of St. Thomas. The Pope reciprocated with a pen in the form of the famous twisting columns of Bernini in the canopy of the papal altar in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Following the meeting with the Italian premier, the Pope received Rome’s newly-elected mayor Ignazio Marino, and later also former mayor Gianni Alemanno. Marino arrived riding his bicycle, escorted by three municipality police officers also on bikes. During their brief meeting, the Pope asked him, how the city can help young students with limited funds, finish their studies. The mayor was accompanied by his daughter and his 91 year old mother, who was visibly moved. She didn't expect the Pope to walk her, by the arm, when the meeting ended. During the meeting, Pope Francis told the mayor, he would return the visit to Rome city administration headquarters, known as the Campidoglio.


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