RADIO VATICANA IMAGE/REPORT: Pope Benedict XVI entrusted the year 2012 to Mary, Mother of God, praying that it be lived by all under the sign of reciprocal respect and of the common good, and expressing the hope that no act of violence be committed in the name of God, Who is the Supreme Guarantor of justice and peace. The Pope’s prayer came at the end of remarks he delivered during a special audience for the officers and functionaries of the Italian State Police detail charged with serving the area of St. Peter’s and the Vatican. The Holy Father expressed to all his personal gratitude and that of his collaborators for what he called, “the precious and delicate work” that they do in maintaining public order, guaranteeing security and tranquillity to the millions of pilgrims and tourists who visit the square and the Basilica each year. The Pope encouraged the officers and functionaries of the Inspectorate to be authentic promoters of justice and sincere builders of peace, and asked Mary, Mother of God, Queen of Peace, to sustain the police and all those who work with him in the service of Christ’s people.
MEETING WITH PRIME MINISTER OF ITALY
This morning Pope Benedict XVI received the Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Monti, in private audience.
After the audience the Prime Minister, accompanied by the Italian Ministers for Foreign and European Affairs, met with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and the Undersecretary for Relations with States, Monsignor Ettore Balestrero.
In the course of their meeting, the Holy Father and the Prime Minister discussed the social situation in Italy and the challenges for the Italian government, as well as the contribution of the Catholic Church to the life of the country. They also considered global events, as well as the current situation in Europe and the Mediterranean area. Finally, they emphasized the need to protect religious minorities – especially Christians – throughout the world.
Finally, the Pope and the Prime Minister confirmed their desire to continue collaborating in a constructive way within the broader context of international relations.