Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The “world’s poorest president” had an usual audience with Pope Francis


It's a common grumble that politicians' lifestyles are far removed from those of their electorate. Not so in Uruguay. Meet the president - who lives on a ramshackle farm and gives away most of his pay.

Laundry is strung outside the house. The water comes from a well in a yard, overgrown with weeds. Only two police officers and Manuela, a three-legged dog, keep watch outside. Read more

Pope Francis welcomed the so called “world's poorest president”, Uruguayan José Mújica, at the Vatican's Apostolic Palace. 

President -“This is so impressive, I feel overwhelmed.”

The meeting was longer than usual and lasted 45 minutes. According to the Vatican, various issues were addressed, such as “the integral development of persons, respect for human rights justice and social peace.”

The president also asked that the Church 'do everything possible so that the peace process in Colombia continues and comes to fruition.'

Mújica reminded the Pope that they shared a mutual friend, theologian and writer Alberto Methol Ferrè, who died in 2009. The Pope admitted the author's writing was thought provoking.

So, as a gift, the president gave the Pope a book authored by Ferre. Pope Francis presented Mújica with the final resolutions of the 2007 Latin American bishops conference in Aparecida, Brazil, and a lithograph.

The fun continued when Pope Francis had a chance to meet with the president's staff.

The Pope described Mujica's visit as a meeting with “a wise man,” and the president did not hide his emotions.

As usual, the delegation also met with the Secretary of State and the Vatican foreign minister.

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