Receives President Mbeki in Audience
VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2005 (Zenit.org).-
South Africa has a role to play in favor of peace and promoting moral
values in the African continent, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope made this comment today when he received South African
President Thabo Mbeki in audience.
During the meeting, characterized by cordialness, Mbeki, a partner of
Nelson Mandela in the struggle against apartheid, "explained the
situation in South Africa to His Holiness, also with reference to the
rest of the African continent."
According to the statement published by Vatican spokesman Joaquín
Navarro Valls, the "Holy Father emphasized the role the Republic
of South Africa can play as a factor for peace throughout the
The Bishop of Rome "also underlined the Church's responsibility
in promoting moral values in the Republic of South Africa and in the
After Benedict XVI's election, President Mbeki said in an official
statement that the Pope "assumes leadership at a critical time in
which the world's collective wisdom and leadership including that of
the religious community is most important to face up to challenges of
deepening poverty and underdevelopment afflicting many people of the
After the 15 minute private meeting, the Pope greeted Zanele Diamini,
the South African president's wife, and the entourage of eight persons
that accompanied him. There was a "smiling, cordial, and not very
formal " atmosphere, said the journalists present.
Miranda Strydom, a South African reporter, asked the Pope:
"Holiness, can you pray for our continent? We are working so
"I will, and pray for me," replied the Pope.
After the meeting, Mbeki was received by Cardinal Angelo Sodano,
Vatican secretary of state.
This was Benedict XVI's second meeting with a head of state. He met
with the president of Italy, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, May 3.