Pope and Chilean Leader Discuss Family Life

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 18, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI and the president of Chile discussed human life and the family, as well as the Church's positive contribution to that South American country.

Michelle Bachelet and other civil leaders from Chile visited the Pope today, the Vatican press office reported. Following her 40-minute audience with the Holy Father, she met with his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states.

"The cordial discussions provided an opportunity for an exchange of information and ideas on the sociopolitical situation of the country and its role in Latin America," the Vatican reported. "Themes of common interest were considered, such as human life and the family, education, human rights, justice and peace and other important questions on the international agenda.

"Attention also turned to the positive contribution made by the Catholic Church to Chilean society, especially in the social and educational fields."

Bachelet gave the Holy Father a sculpture and a book, representing Chilean culture. The Pope gave the president the papal medallion.