May 17, 2010.
Bolivian President, Evo Morales met Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican, showing his affection but also his lack of diplomatic manners.
In the traditional exchanging of the gifts, Morales gave the pope a white scarf and two small wooden carved statues that represent the indigenous people of his country.
During the meeting, the president, expressed his concern over the loss of faith around the world. They also spoke about immigration and climate change.
In a press conference after the meeting, Morales called the pope an ally in defending the environment. Evo Morales
President of Bolivia“We agree on a large range of issues such as the defense to life and the earth. We also agree on the right to stand up for immigrants.”
But the Bolivian president also criticized the Catholic Church, something unusual for a diplomatic visit of this nature. In a letter that he handed the pope, he criticized the church for not allowing the ordination of women and called the pope to abolish priestly celibacy.
Evo Morales, who had previously declared the Church a political opponent, has promoted a new constitution towards a secular state, despite the fact that nearly 8 million out of the 10 million inhabitants consider themselves Catholic.