Pope Francis and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke on the phone for 40 minutes on Sunday, March 21, 2021, according to a press release from the President’s Office at Élysée Palace.
The call, which was requested by the Pope, marks the fifth time the two world leaders have spoken since Macron’s election in 2017, according to Vatican News. The call came after President Macron sent the Pope a message on the occasion of the 8th anniversary of his election to the papacy. The last the two leaders spoke was October 30, 2020, after the attacks on the Cathedral of Nice, which killed three people.
The Élysée press office said that during their Sunday conversation the two spoke at length about Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Journey to Iraq. Macron said the visit marked “a true turning point” for the Middle Eastern region.
The pair also dwelt on their “thoughts and concerns” about several crises affecting various parts of the globe, Vatican News said. These included “the expansion of jihadism in Africa—both in the Sahel region and the continent’s east coast”, as well as the critical situation in Lebanon.
According to the Élysée press statement, President Macron also spoke to the Pope about the “challenges of a post-Covid world”.
Soon after the start of the pandemic, the Pope set up a special Vatican Covid-19 Commission, to help humanity think about the challenges it faces moving forward.
Pope Francis has offered contact prayers and comments at length in his 2020 Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord – ‘Urbi et Orbi’ Blessing:
“At Christmas, we celebrate the light of Christ who comes into the world; he comes for everyone, not just for some. Today, in this time of darkness and uncertainty regarding the pandemic, various lights of hope appear, such as the discovery of vaccines. But for these lights to illuminate and bring hope to all, they need to be available to all. We cannot allow the various forms of nationalism closed in on themselves to prevent us from living as the truly human family that we are. Nor can we allow the virus of radical individualism to get the better of us and make us indifferent to the suffering of other brothers and sisters. I cannot place myself ahead of others, letting the law of the marketplace and patents take precedence over the law of love and the health of humanity. I ask everyone – government leaders, businesses, international organizations – to foster cooperation and not competition and to seek a solution for everyone: vaccines for all, especially for the most vulnerable and needy of all regions of the planet. Before all others: the most vulnerable and needy!”