Italian President Takes Leave of Pope Francis

Sergio Mattarella Visits the Vatican on the Eve of the End of His Mandate

Italian President
(C) Vatican Media

Farewell visit of the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, to Pope Francis: the Head of State, whose mandate will expire in January, “was received by His Holiness the Supreme Pontiff Francis in the Vatican,” explained a press release of the Quirinale Palace. After a private talk in the Library, between the Head of State and the Pontiff, the presentation of the official Italian delegation took place. The Italian President then met with the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin.

“During the cordial conversations in the State Secretariat, satisfaction was expressed for the good relations existing between the Holy See and Italy. They reflected on some questions regarding the Italian social situation, with particular reference to the problems of the pandemic and the ongoing vaccination campaign, the family, the demographic phenomenon and the education of young people. In the course of the conversation topics of an international character were discussed, with special attention to the African Continent, to migrations and to the future and values of democracy in Europe.”

The First Meeting

 There have been several meetings between Mattarella and the Pope in the course of the presidential mandate. The first goes back to April 18, 2015, in the Vatican, a few months after the President’s election, on January 31. On that occasion, the Holy Father spoke about the role of “public powers” in planning “the conditions for an equitable and sustainable development.” He also referred to the pluralism and division of roles between the Church and State. In particular, the Pontiff focused on the employment crisis and the protection of the environment. Finally, he paid homage to Italy for its front-line role in the reception of migrants.

Other Previous Meetings

 Two years later, in May of 2017, it was the Holy Father who went on a visit to the Quirinale, which, moreover, was for a long time the residence of Pontiffs. Different meetings succeeded one another over these years, not only in the Vatican or Rome, for ceremonies of a public character. We recall, for example, the presence of both in February 2020 meeting “Mediterranean Border of Peace,” promoted by the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) in Bari, as well as the International Prayer for Peace of October 20, 2020, organized by Sant’Egidio Community in the Piazza del Campidoglio.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester