Scenes from the Meeting
Below is the Whispers translation of the Italian fulltext:
This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience His Excellency Mr Hugo Chávez Frías, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, accompanied by his entourage.
In the course of their conversation, the President illustrated to the Holy Father the projects of social change in action in the country. Benedict XVI, therefore, proposed to the attention of the President some themes particularly dear to him.Above all, [the Pope] affirmed the liberty of the Holy See in the appointment of Bishops and wished that the "St Rose of Lima" Catholic University may always maintain its Catholic identity.
The Holy Father also expressed his concern for a project of reform of the [curriculum] instruction in which a place would not be found for the teaching of religion. He also asked that the programs of public health care have as their fundamental end the protection of life from its very beginning. Finally, he underlined the urgency of the independence of the Catholic media.President Hugo Chavez assured his interest toward the requests of the Holy Father and his pledge to surpass every tension in respect to the legitimate rights of all.
Finally, the Holy Father gave the President a personal letter which summarizes his pastoral solicitude for the good of the country.
PHOTO: AP Pool/Alberto Pizzoli