King of Tonga Visits Benedict XVI

Discuss Situation of Pacific Island States

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 24, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The king of the only monarchy in the South Pacific visited Benedict XVI today.

His Majesty Siaosi Tupou V, king of Tonga, met with the Pope and then with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

The archipelago of Tonga, in the South Pacific Ocean, is about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. It has a population of just over 100,000.

According to a Vatican communiqué, the conversation between the Pope and the King "dwelt on various aspects of the country's social and economic life, as well as on the positive contribution the Catholic Church makes in various sectors of society, and her activities of human promotion."

"There followed," the communiqué added, "an exchange of opinions on the international situation, with particular reference to the Pacific island states."