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Spain's vice president visits the Vatican, invites Pope Francis to visit the country in 2015

2014-09-15

The vice president of Spain, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría is hoping Pope Francis can visit the country in 2015. 

During her visit to the Vatican, she reiterated this to Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin. 

SORAYA SAENZ DE SANTAMARÍA 
Deputy Prime Minister of Spain

"I invited the Pope once again, following up on the invitation of the king and queen extended along with some of our cabinet members. Especially since it will mark 500 years since St. Teresa of Avila was born.” 

If the Pope were to accept, it would be the country's ninth Papal visit. The last one was back in 2011, when World Youth Day was held in Madrid. 

Even though the Pope hasn't yet agreed, the vice president says she's still holding out hope. 

SORAYA SAENZ DE SANTAMARÍA 
Deputy Prime Minister of Spain


"As a government, we're hoping he will accept, but the only thing we can do at this point is extend our invitation.” 

The meeting between the vice president and the Vatican's Secretary of State, lasted about an hour. They discussed the country's social and economic troubles, as well as Europe's high unemployment rate amongst the youth. They also touched on the instability in Iraq and what European countries can do to help. 

SORAYA SAENZ DE SANTAMARÍA 
Deputy Prime Minister of Spain

"We talked about the challenges Europe is facing and the need to strengthen the unity among European countries. This comes to light with what we're seeing with Scotland's call for independence or what we see with the Spanish region of Cataluña. It's a different situation, but they want to break away and become autonomous.” 

The Spanish city of Avila will host a big celebration in 2015, to mark the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, considered one of the most influential women in the Church back in the 16th century. 

In 1970 she was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI. It's an honor only three other women hold: St. Catherine of Siena, St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Hildegard of Bingen. 

JRB/KLH 
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