The President of the Government of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, was received by Pope Francis at the Vatican this morning, in a private audience that took place in the private library of the Apostolic Palace. After the meeting, the President of the Government said that during their conversation, they discussed “the need for dialogue, and how the way forward is always for different people to talk in order to reach agreements”.
In statements to the media, the President explained that during the conversation they discussed “the concern we share about the war in Israel and Gaza, and especially its effects on the civilian population”, as well as “the need to move towards diplomatic solutions that guarantee the right to life and freedom of all individuals and all peoples”. “And the Pope is engaging in diplomacy that is very important in this area,” he concluded.
President Aragonès also stressed that he agreed with the Holy Father on “the need to make progress in the fight against inequality” and explained the social policies being implemented in Catalonia to him, such as “the importance of schools as an instrument for equal opportunities, housing policies and policies for the reception and integration of immigrants”.
The Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, said that the conversation with the Holy Father, which lasted 40 minutes, was “very positive.” He thanked the pontiff “for his kindness and willingness to listen to my thoughts, and for his words at this meeting.”“I reaffirm my commitment to dialogue, negotiation and the need to reach agreements that enable all conflicts to be resolved,” said the president.
The head of the Catalan Government explained to the media that he greeted the Holy Father “in our language,” and that he spoke with him about works of Catalan literature. The president presented the Pope with some works of Catalan literature, including Canigó by Jacint Verdaguer, “one of Catalonia’s great national poets” and “a priest and poet with a very broad public appeal”, as well as the complete works of poetry of Joan Maragall and a special edition of El cant espiritual (The Spiritual Song).
This is the second time that a president of the Generalitat has visited the Holy Father since 1981, when Pope John Paul II received Jordi Pujol. They subsequently met during the Pope’s visit to Barcelona in 1982. Artur Mas was also received in an audience with Pope John Paul II in 2002 when he was First Minister, and President Montilla hosted Benedict XVI on his visit to Barcelona in 2010, on the occasion of the consecration of the basilica of the Sagrada Familia.