French President Emmanuel Macron and Pope Francis met on Monday, where they are believed to have discussed the Ukraine war and prospects for peace.
The Vatican said their private talks lasted 55 minutes but, as is customary, did not specify the contents of the discussion.
Prior to Macron’s visit, victims of sexual abuse said the Catholic church was reacting too slowly to a report revealing assaults by members of the French clergy on more than 200,000 children, and urged the President to raise the issue directly with the pope.
The Vatican said that Ukraine, especially the country’s dire humanitarian situation, topped the agenda in later talks Macron had with the Vatican’s two top diplomats. Among the discussion topics were also the Caucasus, the Middle East, and Africa.
Macron, accompanied by his wife Brigitte and greeted with an honour guard of Swiss Guards, gave the pope a first edition of German philosopher Immanuel Kant’s “Perpetual Peace,” published in French in 1796. The pope gave Macron a medallion depicting an early plan for St Peter’s Basilica and some of his writings.
Following the meeting, Macron headed to have an official lunch with Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella.
On Tuesday, both the French President and the Pope will jointly close an international conference organised by Italy’s Sant’Egidio Community, a worldwide peace and charity group.