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Prime Minister of Ireland visits pope and says he will travel to Dublin in 2018

Pope Francis met with Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, in the Vatican. It was the second time they met. "Holy Father, a privilege and a honor to be here, to meet you.â? The prime minister and the pope talked behind closed doors for 23 minutes on issues like Brexit, unemployment in Europe and the prime minister's relationship with the bishops in his country. The prime minister had requested this meeting to officially invite the pope to participate at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in August 2018. To convince him, he gave the pope a reproduction of a stained-glass window of the Holy Family. The pope gave him a lithograph with the original project of St. Peter's Basilica, and the three great texts he has written during his pontificate. "Three encyclicals.â? The pope gave everyone a gift, and warmly shook the hands of the prime minister and his wife.  "Go ahead.â? "I hope to see you in Ireland.â? As it seems, the farewell was not a "goodbye" but a "see you soon." During a meeting with the press, the prime minister confirmed that the pope will travel to Dublin. ENDA KENNY Prime Minister of Ireland "I want to say that the pope has confirmed that he is coming to Ireland, for the World Convention of Families, a fact which I appreciate very much from the invitation extended to him from the bishops. And I explained to him that as head of the Catholic Church and head of the Vatican, that the government will make the appropriate arrangements for him.â? Enda Kenny's comments about the Vatican have not always been so positive. In July 2011, he strongly criticized the Vatican's response to sexual abuse by priests and reduced the importance of the Vatican embassy. ENDA KENNY Prime Minister of Ireland "I explained to him my own difficulties with the Church some years ago and I was happy to confirm to him that Church-State relations now were in better shape than they were very many years, that we work very well with the bishops and the clergy, that there are so many more safeguards in place now than there were before. And that I regard these relationships as being in a healthier position than they were for many years.â? Now, however, Ireland has a residential ambassador to the Holy See, who is much more involved in Vatican decisions. Undoubtedly, with a possible papal visit coming up, they have a lot of work ahead of them. JMB/MB AA ? - BN Up: ag