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Pope visits Italian president

Catholic World News - November 14, 2013

On November 14, Pope Francis crossed Rome to visit Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, making the first state visit of his pontificate to the Quirinal Palace.

Arriving in a simple Ford sedan, the Pope was greeted by the Italian leader, who had made his own formal visit to the Vatican in June. The Pope remarked on the beauty of the Quirinale, the “symbolic home of all Italians.” Expressing his love for the Italian people, he said that “Ideally I would like to knock on the doors of each inhabitant of the country, when the roots of my earthly family lie, and offer the word of the Gospel, healing and always new, to all.”

In his remarks to the Italian president, the Pope spoke of the Lateran Pacts as the framework for “daily collaboration” between the Holy See and the Italian government. “There are many matters with regard to which we have common concerns and our responses may converge,” he said.

The Pope touched on the “economic crisis which is difficult to overcome,” saying that the role of the Church is “to bear witness to God's mercy and to encourage a generous response of solidarity to open up a future of hope.” He also mentioned the need to provide humane treatment for immigrants, and to protect the family—which he characterized as the “fulcrum of hope and social problems.”

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