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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

France visits Francis ... unofficially

Pope Francis had a private meeting in the Vatican on Wednesday with France’s President François Hollande. Their meeting came three weeks after the brutal murder of the elderly French priest, Father Jacques Hamel, who was killed by two young French terrorists claiming allegiance to the so-called Islamic State group while he was celebrating Mass in his church near the city of Rouen.

Following the murder of Father Hamel, President Hollande telephoned Pope Francis to express his closeness and told him that when a priest is attacked all of France is wounded.  Speaking during his flight to Poland, the Pope thanked the French President in a special way for having contacted him like a brother.

President Hollande was accompanied on his visit to the Vatican by the French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and the French ambassador to the Holy See, Philippe Zeller.  Wednesday’s encounter marked the second time that Pope Francis and President Hollande have met in the Vatican.  Their first meeting, which was an official one, took place on 24th January 2014.  
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