Vatican City, 24 January 2014 (VIS) – This morning, in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in audience the president of the French Republic, Francois Hollande, who subsequently went on to meet with Archbishop Pietro Parolin, secretary of State, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
The colloquial discussions focused on the contribution of religion to the common good. Emphasising the good existing relations between France and the Holy See, the Parties made mention of their mutual commitment to maintaining a regular dialogue between the State and the Catholic Church and to collaborating constructively in questions of common interest. In the context of the defence and the promotion of the dignity of the human person, various matters of current relevance were discussed, such as the family, bioethics, respect for religious communities and the protection of places of worship.
Attention then turned to matters of an international nature, such as poverty and development, migration and the environment, and in particular to the issue of conflicts in the Middle East and in some regions of Africa, and hope was expressed that peaceful social co-existence may be re-established in the countries affected, respecting the rights of all, especially ethnic and religious minorities.