Holy Father receives Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi

.- Today the Holy Father met with Silvio Berlusconi, the recently elected prime minister of Italy.  During their discussion, the two focused on the Church’s role in Italian society, the state of education, and the importance of responding to international concerns.

According to a Vatican press release, the Pope and Italian prime minister discussed the Catholic Church’s contributions to the country as well as “questions upon which the Holy Father had dwelt during his recent discourse to the plenary assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference.”

At the conference last month, the Pontiff addressed the Italian bishops, and recalled the country’s “educational emergency.”  During his talk, Benedict XVI noted that educating the youth in society necessitates that teachers “negotiate the obstacles placed in our way by relativism, by a culture that puts God within parenthesis and discourages all truly committed choices, and in particular definitive choices, rather privileging ... self-affirmation and immediate satisfaction."

In May, Pope Benedict also told the bishops that the educational crisis can be remedied by introducing an “education that is truly educational," an education that "re-establishes full and integral formation of the person as the center of its focus.”

At their meeting today, the two heads of state also turned their attention to the events in the Middle East and other international situations.

The Pope and Prime Minister were also sure to turn their attention to Europe, which has in recent years lost much of its Christian faith.  In an effort to bring hope to the region, the two discussed “the prospects for the spiritual, ethical and social development of the European continent.”


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