Pope and Polish Leader Discuss Values

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 7, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The topic of Christian values was a fundamental theme of the audience which Benedict XVI granted to the new prime minister of Poland, Donald Tusk.

Tusk, who succeeded Jaroslaw Kaczynski, met with the Pope today in the Vatican.

In a communiqué, the Vatican reported: "The cordial discussions focused on the situation in the country, with particular reference to Christian moral and religious values which are part of the heritage of the Polish people.

"Mention was made of the traditionally good relations between Poland and the Holy See, which were given particular impetus during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II.

"Finally, attention turned to questions regarding Europe and the international role of Poland."

Benedict XVI visited John Paul II's native Poland in May 2006.

Tusk, born in Gdansk in 1957, gave the Pope a model silver boat, the work of a local artist.

"Gdansk ... Solidarity," the Pope said upon receiving the gift, referring to the labor union in that Baltic port which rose up against and had a decisive role in the fall of the communist regime.

The Polish prime minister met afterward with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's secretary of state, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Vatican secretary for relations with states.