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Rome Reports

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Spain's King and Queen meet with Pope Francis

Pope Francis briefly greeted the Spanish monarchs at the end of the canonization ceremony on Sunday. But on Monday morning, he met with the royal couple for almost an hour. It's been the Pope's longest private audience to date.  "Good morning, Your Majesty. How are you?â? "Pleased to meet you, Your Holiness.â? "Thank you for yesterday.â? "Beautiful ceremony yesterday!â? "Yes, very beautiful.â? "Lovely.â? "Like the Benedictines say: 'To welcome a guest is to welcome Christ.'â? "Congratulations on everything you're doing.â? Their private audience lasted 53 minutes. They talked about topics like the social consequences of youth unemployment, and the conflict in Ukraine. As a gift, the Spanish monarchs gave Pope Francis an edition of the complete works of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. In a way these items were a symbolic invitation for the Pope to visit Spain in 2015, to mark the birth of St. Teresa. The Pope gave the couple a bas-relief of Gian Lorenzo Bernini's original design for St. Peter's Square, which included a third row of columns. After exchanging gifts, Pope Francis greeted the Spanish delegation, and even joked with the foreign mister. "I'm an alum of a Jesuit school.â? "You carry the virus then...â? The Pope walked them out as they left, but he asked that they pass along a message to the rest of royal family. "Greet your children and grandchildren.â? During their visit to the Vatican, the Spanish king and queen met with the Secretary of Sate Pietro Parolin. They gave him a replica of a catechism volume written in an indigenous language, which Card. Parolin appreciated greatly.   King Juan Carlos has met seven Popes. He was baptized by Pius XII and John XXIII gave him the clearance to marry Sofia, from Greece, who was then Orthodox. Paul VI welcomed him after his reign began; and they also met John Paul I. The king and John Paul II had a great friendship. He also met three times with Benedict XVI during his eight year pontificate. This was the first meeting between the king and Pope Francis. JMB/RCA CTV FA - BN Up:RCA