The Vatican (Friday, August 19, 2016, Gaudium Press) Pope Francis had a private meeting in the Vatican on Wednesday with France’s President Francois Hollande.
Their meeting came three weeks after the brutal murder of the elderly French priest, Father Jacques Hamel, who was killed by two young French terrorists claiming allegiance to the so-called Islamic State group whilst he was celebrating Mass in his church near the city of Rouen.
Following the murder of Father Hamel, President Hollande telephoned Pope Francis to express his closeness and told him that “when a priest is attacked all of France is wounded.” Speaking on his flight to Poland, the Pope thanked the French President “in a special way” for having contacted him like “a brother.”
President Hollande was accompanied on his visit to the Vatican by the French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and the French ambassador to the Holy See, Philippe Zeller.
In an exchange of gifts, President Hollande gave the Pope a piece of Sèvres porcelain with the emblem of France. The Holy Father, in turn, gave the French president a round bronze sculpture by artist Daniela Fusco, which represents the prophecy of Isaiah: “the desert will become a garden”.
Wednesday’s encounter marked the second time that Pope Francis and President Hollande have met in the Vatican. Their first meeting, which was an official one, took place on 24th January 2014.
Source Vatican Radio