France: Nicolas Sarkozy received at the Vatican

Source: FSSPX News


On December 20, the Holy See Press Office released  a communiqué following the audience granted by the Holy Father to the president of the French Republic and his subsequent meeting with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of State: “The cordial discussions provided an opportunity to examine a number of questions of mutual interest concerning the current situation of France. Mention was made of the good relations that exist between the Catholic Church and the French Republic, and of the role of religions, especially the Catholic Church, in the world. "Particular attention was given to the international situation with reference to the future of Europe, the conflicts in the Middle East, the social and political problems of certain African countries, and the drama of hostages.”

Nicolas Sarkozy arrived more than 20 minutes late, and was received by Benedict XVI in the Tronetto Hall of the Apostolic Palace. Then, the two men withdrew to the library for a 25-minute private conversation in French. “I am very moved to be received by you,” the French president confided to the pope. After the interview, Nicolas introduced each of the 14 members of his delegation, including Fr. Guy Gilbert, a priest know for his work with troubled youths, a standup comedian known for his off-color jokes by the name of Jean-Marie Bigard, Max Gallo, a member of the French Academy, Fr. Philippe Verdin, op, co-author with Nicolas Sarkozy of the book La République, les religions, l’espérance, on the role of religion in secular France.

Nicolas Sarkozy presented the pope with La Joie and L’imposture, by Georges Bernanos (1888-1948) in an original edition, as well as his own book above-mentioned. Benedict XVI told the president that he “knew, appreciated, and possessed” the works of Bernanos in a prestigious collection. In his turn, the Holy Father offered to Nicolas Sarkozy a gold medal of his pontificate. “My gift is more modest,” he added.

After the talks, the French president told the Osservatore Romano that “It’s an important visit because the Pope is a Head of State, the Pope is a religious leader and I feel Catholic by tradition and at heart.

He’s a world, spiritual authority. For me, the meeting was different from those I have with other heads of State. There was a spiritual dimension. He embodies a message of peace, hope and reconciliation which is of great value in today’s world, wholly oriented towards division, confrontations and misunderstandings.”

The French President then talked with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Secretary for the Relations with States. Afterwards, he visited St. Peter’s Basilica and its excavations, and at 4:00 pm he went to St. John Lateran Basilica to take possession of his title of honorary canon and give a speech.

Nicolas Sarkozy was welcomed by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar of Rome and Archpriest of the Basilica, together with the canons of the chapter, including Mgr Louis Duval-Arnould, who represents the head of the French State in the chapter.