.- This morning Pope Benedict received the prime minister of Spain at the Vatican. The two leaders discussed the role of ethics in addressing the current economic crisis in Europe as well as the need to protect the unborn after the government recently passed a law weakening restrictions on abortion.
The Holy Father Benedict XVI met with Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, prime minister of Spain, in the Vatican this morning. The topics of discussion during their encounter ranged from their “opinions on Europe” to the “current economic-financial crisis and the role of ethics,” according to a statement from the Vatican.
Reference was also made to countries of Central America and the Caribbean as well as to other situations, in particular the Middle East.
At the level of diplomatic relations, the prime minister and the Pope touched on “matters of current interest for the Church in Spain.”
Those issues included “the possible presentation of a law on freedom of religion, the sacredness of life from conception, and the importance of education.”
In March of this year, the Socialist government, led by prime minister Zapatero, passed a law weakening the restrictions on abortion in Spain. The new law allows women over the age of 16 to obtain the procedure up until the 14th week of pregnancy, and in some cases up until the 22nd week. The law is set to take effect on July 5.
Lastly, the upcoming papal visit to Santiago and Barcelona and next year's World Youth Day celebration, set to take place in Madrid, were mentioned.
The Vatican reported that the Pope “recognized that the Spanish government has shown great readiness to collaborate in the preparation and realization of these events.”