The Holy Father received Prime Minister Castex in the Vatican yesterday, Monday, October 18, 2021. According to the French edition of “Vatican News,” this is the first time that the Head of a French Government is received in an official visit by a Pontiff since Francois Fillon was received by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009
Jean Castex, accompanied by his wife and two French Ministers — of Foreign Affairs and of the Interior — talked with the Holy Father for some 35 minutes, before the French Prime minister visited the Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter’s Basilica.
Exchange of Gifts
During the traditional exchange of gifts, the Pontiff gave Castex a mosaic representing the “Vinedressers” with the inscription: “May the fruit of the vine and the work of man be for us the drink of salvation,” as well as the Message for this year’s World Day of Peace and the Document on Human Fraternity.
The French Prime Minister offered an 1836 edition of Victor Hugo’s Notre Dame de Paris, as well as an autographed T-shirt of Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi, who for the past year has been playing for the French club Paris Saint-Germain.
According to “Vatican News,” the French Prime Minister was expected at noon in the Villa Bonaparte, headquarters of the French Embassy to the Holy See, for a moment dedicated to the centenary of diplomatic relations between France and the Holy See. He was also expected to give Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, the insignia of the Commander of the Order of the Legion of Honour before a working lunch to which Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, was also invited.