Benedict XVI Greets European Parliament President

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI received in audience today Jerzey Buzek, president of the European Parliament.

A Vatican communique issued after the meeting noted that the talks, which took place in a "cordial" atmosphere, "provided an opportunity for a fruitful exchange of opinions concerning relations between the Catholic Church, the European Parliament and other European institutions, as well as the contribution the Church can make to the Union."

The note stated that the two also spoke of other current topics of international affairs, "such as commitment to promoting religious freedom and the protection of Christian minorities in the world."

The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's secretary of state, who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states.

Buzek noted on the Web site of the European Parliament that "the meeting with the Holy Father was very moving." "At a time of such dramatic changes," he added, "a man of faith and intellect like Benedict XVI gives guidance and stability to hundreds of million of people across the world."

The president mentioned that the two also discussed the situation in the Northern Africa: "We expressed our hopes for a swift end of violence and transition towards stability and democracy."