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Pope-Macron: private meeting lasted nearly an hour. “Political leaders should reflect on the poor”

(Foto Siciliani-Gennari/SIR)

Pope Francis’ private audience with French President Emmanuel Macron lasted almost an hour – 57 minutes to be precise – and was followed by the traditional exchange of greetings between the respective delegations. The French delegation was made up of 13 people, including Brigitte and French philosopher Remi Brague. During the exchange of gifts, with the presidential couple standing next to the Pontiff, President Macron gave Pope Francis a rare copy of the “Diary of a Country Priest” by Georges Bernanos. The book, in Italian, is from 1949. “It is a book that you have always loved so much”, Macron said, as he gave the gift to the Pope. “I read it many times, it did me well”, Pope Francis replied. The Pontiff, in turn, presented Macron with a bronze medal of St. Martin of Tours. “It is a medal by a Roman artist of the last century depicting Saint Martin”, Pope Francis explained, insisting on the “vocation of rulers” which “is for the poor: we are all poor”. Finally, as is customary with heads of state, the Pope presented Macron with a copy of his Evangelii Gaudium, Amoris Laetitia, Laudato si’, of his Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, and of his message for the World Day of Peace. Pope Francis’ audience with Macron ended with an unexpected gesture that broke the usually strict protocol. Indeed, the French president approached the Pope, put a hand on his shoulder, and then kissed him on both cheeks. In terms of length, the private audience granted to Macron is the second longest after that granted to US President Barack Obama. As reported by the pool of journalists admitted to the event, “it was a cordial and friendly meeting”, during which the president of the French Caritas, Veronique Fayet, gave the Pope a report on finance compiled by Caritas France.

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