Vatican City, Jun 20, 2004 / 22:00 pm
The Holy Father received the recently elected president of Spain, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, this morning at the Vatican and expressed his desire for Spain’s spiritual and moral progress.
“Your presence here,” he affirmed, “reflects your desire to continue to maintain good relations with the local Church and the State for the good of the Spanish people, a desire that you expressed to me when I met you at the end of a Mass in Colombus Square in Madrid on May 4 last year.”
John Paul II expressed the desire that Spain “may always continue toward integral progress,” and prayed that “peaceful coexistence in unity among persons and peoples of your great land become ever stronger, with its marvelous and varied diversity, and may cultural and moral values be preserved, as well as your Christian roots.”
The Pope recalled his audience last friday with the new Spanish ambassador to the Holy See, Jorge Dezcallar, in which he had spoken about various aspects of Spanish society, and expressed the need for a cultural struggle to protect human dignity and family life.