Félix Bolaños agrees with Pope Francis on the importance of dialogue, solidarity and working for those who have most difficulties

News - 13.6.2022

The Minister for the Presidency, who is responsible for proposing and implementing the government's policy on religious freedom and worship and relations with religious denominations, described this meeting as inspiring "because, in addition to the warmth that the pontiff exudes, we are inspired by the same values: dialogue, solidarity and the courage to help those in the world who have the most difficulties and are in the worst situation. These values of Pope Francis also inspire the work of the Government of Spain".

The two shared their concern for the refugees and, in this regard, Bolaños had the opportunity to explain to Pope Francis the "colossal effort" that Spain is making to take in people from Ukraine who are fleeing the war. The minister stressed that Spain, despite its geographical distance from Ukraine, is the fifth EU country that has received the largest number of refugees, a figure that totals more than 120,000.

Bolaños has conveyed to the pontiff the government's desire to continue on the path of dialogue with the Spanish Catholic Church. "Our will is to always work with dialogue to resolve issues that are of common interest, and we have already demonstrated this with the recent resolution of some issues. The dialogue with Monsignor Omella and the working groups is ongoing. We are committed to this work and to seeking shared solutions.

Cantigas de Santa María

The minister presented the pontiff with an illuminated copy of an extract from the Cantigas de Santa María, songs dedicated to the Virgin Mary and written at the desk of King Alfonso X, who is credited with promoting the Toledo School of Translators, in an expression of the coexistence of the three monotheistic religions. The reproduction was made by students from the National Heritage Artistic Bookbinding Workshop School, created to help young unemployed people find work.

He also presented him with a gift of products from the Spanish countryside: saffron from Villafranca de los Caballeros (La Mancha Designation of Origin), where the minister's family comes from, olive oil from two cooperatives in Jaén, and bananas grown on the island of La Palma, as a gesture of recognition before the Holy Father of the exemplary and supportive behaviour of the people of La Palma during the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano.

For his part, the pontiff gave the minister a copy of all his Encyclicals, a bronze figure inspired by fraternity and friendship and a medal commemorating his ninth year of pontificate.

Non official translation