Pope Francis welcomed Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius at the Vatican. The Pope, always smiling and joking with his guests, told the prime minister what he thinks of the time allotted for taking official pictures.
"This is called protocol torture.”
During their meeting, they spoke about the role Lithuania plays as the current president of the Council of the European Union, as well as the good relationship between the Vatican and the Baltic country, which is home to various religious groups coexisting peacefully.
The prime minister introduced his wife and a government delegation to the Pope. He said that given the pontiff's preference for modesty, he gave him a traditional gift from his country: a handmade weather-vane. The Pope listened intently to the prime minister's explanation of each design.
Meanwhile, the Pope gave him a pen and added that it should be used only to sign "important documents.” As they said goodbye, Butkevicius, visibly excited, thanked the Pope on behalf the Lithuanian people.
"One of my dreams has come true: to be welcomed by the Pope.”
After the audience with the Pope, the prime minister met with the Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone.