Poland's president had a chance to thank Pope Benedict XVI personally for beatifying his Polish-born predecessor, Blessed John Paul II.
Pope Benedict received Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski in an audience on Monday morning, as celebrations surrounding the May 1 beatification drew to a close. The president conveyed the Polish people's gratitude to the Pope, for the decision to bestow the Church's high honor upon a national hero.
The Pope and president discussed the historic impact of Bl. John Paul II's life in the history of both Poland and the world at large. The first Polish Pope, whose words and actions helped to end Communist rule in his own country, also visited more countries than any other Pope in history.
Both men agreed that the newly-beatified Pope's life marked a turning point in history, as he sought to offer the Christian message of redemption to a troubled and increasingly interconnected world.
President Komorowski assured Pope Benedict that Bl. John Paul II's teachings, particularly regarding human dignity and the sanctity of life, would remain important to the nation.
Poland re-criminalized abortion under most circumstances in 1993. In recent years, the country has grappled with the question of whether its moderately strict abortion laws should become more or less restrictive, or remain as they are.