Emmanuel Macron holds long meeting with Pope Francis


The French president, Emmanuel Macron, who has been accused in France of straining the country’s secular foundations by seeking to mend ties with the Catholic church, has held an unusually long meeting with Pope Francis.The two men spoke for nearly an hour in the official papal library in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, the longest time the pontiff has spent in a meeting with a head of state.

The Vatican said the pair discussed protection of the environment, migration, and multilateral commitment to conflict prevention and resolution, especially in relation to disarmament. They also spoke about prospects for resolving conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and the future of Europe, it said. At the end of the private audience, Macron gave the pope a rare copy of Georges Bernanos’ 1936 novel The Diary of a Country Priest.

“I’ve read this book many times and it has done me good. It is a book that I have always loved very much,” the pope told Macron, who was accompanied in the public part of the meeting by his wife, Brigitte. The pontiff gave Macron a medallion of Martin of Tours, a 4th-century saint who is depicted cutting his cloak in half to give to a beggar in winter. “This means the vocation of those who govern is to help the poor. We are all poor,” the pope told Macron as he gave him the medallion.(theguardian)…[+]