Pope Francis and French Prime Minister discuss seal of confession in cases of abuse

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18/10/2021
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-Thank you very much, so nice to meet you.
-And to hear you speak Spanish, I love it.

Pope Francis and French Prime Minister Jean Castex were able to understand each other perfectly without a translator. The Prime Minister was born near France's border with Spain and speaks Spanish very well. 

They met for 30 minutes. The Prime Minister says they found several areas of agreement while discussing issues such as the situation in Lebanon, Iraq, and relations with Turkey. The Pope was also interested in France's role in the upcoming COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. 

They also discussed how the Church will act in the wake of a recent report which revealed that members of the clergy in France have abused thousands of children since 1950.

Jean Castex asked that a study be carried out on how to reconcile the seal of confession with criminal law and the rights of victims. 

The most symbolic moment of their meeting was the presentation of gifts. 

-Bags of fruit for people who in need.

The Prime Minister brought him a Paris Saint-Germain soccer jersey signed by Argentinean soccer player Lionel Messi.

-What did he write? If you see him, thank him. 

In return, Pope Francis gave him a mosaic with a message. 

-The work that goes into the grape, into the vine, helps us to walk towards eternal life.

The Pope then gave him the significant texts of his pontificate, such as the document on Human Fraternity which he signed along with one of the leaders of Sunni Islam. 

-With the great imam of Al Azhar and Muslims...
-...We have spoken, thank you very much.

Their farewell reflected the friendly nature of the meeting, which the Pope ended by asking for prayers. 

-Thank you for everything you do, and pray for me do not forget.
-Thank you very much.
-Pray for me, not against me.

JMB

TR: JM

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