Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hugo Chavez Visits Pope Benedict

Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released a communique this morning concerning the meeting of the Holy Father with Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela.
"In the course of the meeting," the communique reads, "the president illustrated to the Pope the projects of social change taking place in his country. Benedict XVI then drew to the president's attention certain themes of particular concern to him.
"In the first place he reiterated the freedom of the Holy See to appoint bishops, and expressed the hope that the Catholic University of "Santa Rosa de Lima" may always maintain its Catholic identity.
"The Holy Father also expressed his concern over an education reform project in which there would seem to be no provision for teaching religion. He further asked that public health programs uphold the fundamental principle of protecting life from its very beginnings. He also underlined the importance of the independence of Catholic media.
"President Hugo Chavez gave assurances of his concern for the Holy Father's requests and expressed his commitment to overcome all forms of tension in full respect for everyone's rights.
"Finally, the Holy Father consigned a personal letter to the president summarizing his pastoral concerns for the good of the country."

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