.- On Thursday morning Pope Benedict XVI met with the President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, at the governor’s mansion of the state of Sao Paulo.
As the meeting was private, there were no official briefings on the substance of the discussions between the Holy Father and the Brazilian head of state. Brazilian officials said because the encounter was a courtesy call, “No official state pronouncements would be made afterwards.”
At the conclusion of the 15 minute meeting, Pope Benedict and President Lula and his wife posed for photos with international reporters.
Lula presented the Holy Father with a collection of three books on the paintings of Brazilian artist Cândido Portinari. The first lady presented the Pope with another work of art by Brazilian artist Roberto Camasmie, who painted a portrait of the Pontiff. In return the Pope gave each of them a pontifical medal.
During the photo-op, the Pope and President Lula greeted various officials, including the governor of the state of Sao Paulo, Jose Serra. The Pope gave each of them a blessed rosary.