President Meets Pope Francis at the Vatican

President Meets Pope Francis at the Vatican

President Zuzana Čaputová met with Pope Francis on Monday 14 December 2020.  

Among other matters, they discussed the deepening divisions within society. “I highly appreciate the views of the Holy Father, who stands up for the poor and socially weak and people in need. It was a great inspiration to hear him speak about the importance of loving every single individual without distinction."

The president’s private discussion with Pope Francis was followed by an exchange of gifts. Her gift for Pope Francis was the painting of Our Lady of Sorrows, the patroness of Slovakia, created by academic painter Katarína Vavrová, and which, in the president’s words, is an expression of hope, determination and strength, as well as humility, love and femininity. "For me Our Lady of Sorrows is a reminder that it is often women who bring about peace, understanding and empathy. They are strong and assertive and their role in connecting our households, families, societies and state is irreplaceable.” The Pope also received four large beeswax candles made by a social organization which provides space for people in difficult life situations - people in need and vulnerable groups. "The candles are an expression of their hope for a better life and an example of their determination, endurance and ability to create beautiful things despite their difficult fate. I hope that these candles will contribute to the atmosphere of peace during the Christmas holidays."

The Holy Father presented president Čaputová with a bronze sculpture entitled “Be Messengers of Peace” depicting a dove sitting on the branch of a grape vine with bunches of grapes. Other gifts included copies of two Papal documents: Message on the World Day of Peace and the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.
The president and the Holy Father share the conviction that the most important tasks facing us today are to unite our societies, to ease tension among people, to unite our countries, to show that we can put aside disputes in times of genuine threats, to cooperate and to return to the fundamental value of love for our fellow humans. "I am honoured to bring greetings from Pope Francis to Slovakia. We are close to his heart; he values us and we are in his thoughts even in these difficult times.  He urges us to hold on, to fight and especially, to stay together. His words during our personal discussion were extremely calming. They were words of reconciliation and hope.”     

Following her audience with the Holy Father, the president met with Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States.