Ecological and humanitarian issues topped the agenda during the Prince of Monaco's meeting with the Holy Father.
Pope Francis received Albert II of Monaco in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on July 20, 2022, and spoke with him for nearly half an hour, the Holy See Press Office reported. According to Matteo Bruni, director of the Press Office, the pontiff said he was “impressed to meet a person who is committed and dedicates time to good works” after their meeting.
Francis was also able to greet Princess Charlene of Monaco, who accompanied her husband on the trip. It was the second time that the princely couple met the Argentinean pope after a first visit in 2016.
Albert of Monaco met Benedict XVI in 2009 and a second time in 2013, shortly before his resignation. As a cardinal Benedict XVI presented Albert with the condolences of the College of Cardinals on April 6, 2005, the day of the death of his father, Prince Rainier. Since Pope John Paul II died on April 2, Joseph Ratzinger sent the message as dean of the College of Cardinals.
During the traditional exchange of gifts, Pope Francis presented Prince Albert with copies of all the documents of his magisterium as well as a bronze work representing a child helping another to stand up, with the inscription “Love that helps” in Italian. While handing it over to the prince, the pope explained that this was the only occasion when one could “look down on another” adding that one must “reach out and help him to get up.”
For his part, the Monegasque sovereign presented the pope with a print representing the Chapel of St. John the Baptist in the Palace of Monaco.
The prince was unable to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States. These two were not present at the Vatican, I.MEDIA has learned from Vatican sources.
According to diplomatic sources, the priorities of Monaco’s Vatican diplomacy are ecological issues — Prince Albert is particularly committed to the defense of the oceans — and humanitarian issues, especially for children. To this end, the small Ligurian state works with important Catholic organizations such as the Sant’Egidio Community and the Order of Malta.
The Principality’s current ambassador to the Holy See, Claude-Joël Giordan, who arrived in 2015, is retiring at the end of July. He is expected to be replaced in September by a new ambassador.