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Rome Reports

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Benedict XVI talks with Zapatero about protecting life, religious freedom and Cuba

Zapatero cordially greeted the Pope and complimented the physical appearance of Benedict XVI.

“How are you, Holy Father? You look great.”

Benedict XVI said a few words in Spanish, which Zapatero said he pronounced very well.

Nevertheless, the two spoke with the help of an interpreter. According to the Vatican, they discussed the role of ethics in the financial crisis, the situations in Cuba and the Middle East, the freedom of religion law project in Spain and the protection of life.

Benedict XVI gave Zapatero a bronze bas-relief of the Vatican in the year 1600, and Zapatero brought the Pope a large book on the history of the el Escorial monastery in Madrid.

As they said goodbye, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero mentioned the Pope?s next visit to Spain, which is planned for November.

“I?ll see you in Spain, Your Holiness.”

This was the first time Zapatero had visited Benedict XVI, as their first meeting took place in Valencia during the Pope?s visit in June 2006.