Vatican City, 13 May 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in audience His excellency Mr. Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, president of the Republic of Colombia. President Santos then met with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
In the course of cordial conversations, the actuality of Mother Laura Montoya Upegui, first Colombian saint and fruitful interpreter of the country's Christian roots, who had been canonized the preceding day in St. Peter's Square, was discussed. Also covered was the Church's contribution in promoting a “culture of encounter” and her works in service of the country's human and spiritual progress, particularly for the most in need and the youth.
The challenges that the country must face were taken into consideration, especially in regard to social inequalities. Reference to the undergoing process of peace and the victims of conflict was not overlooked, with the wishes that the parties involved carry on negotiations, inspired by a sincere search for the common good and for reconciliation. Finally, the Church's commitment in favour of life and of families was emphasized.