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Monday, 2 April 2007

Visit of the President of the Republic of Poland in the Vatican

On 2nd April 2007, on the second anniversary of the death of the Holy Father John Paul II, the President of the Republic of Poland and Mrs Kaczyńska visited the Vatican.

In the morning the President met with Secretary of State of the Holy See Cardinal Bertone. Then he took part in the ceremony concluding the diocesan phase of John Paul II’s cause for beatification in St. John’s Basilica in Laterano.

During the press conference held in the Polish Embassy with the Holy See President Kaczyński said:

”This is a special visit. Today at 9:37 p.m. it will be two years since the death of John Paul II. One of the phases of the beatification process has been concluded – we attended the ceremony two hours ago – soon the Holy Mass will start. I think it is impossible for the President of the Republic not to take part in this type of ceremony. And this regardless of whether I am personally a Catholic or not (I happen to be Catholic, me and my wife). Considering the role played by John Paul II as the leader of the Catholic Church for over a quarter of a century but also as a person who played a great role in the history of Europe and of the World, it would be quite unfit for the Polish President not to be here today. So we are here and at 9:37 p.m. we want to be at the grave of John Paul II. Already behind us is the ceremony, celebrated by Cardinal Ruini, Vicar of Rome, ahead of us is the Holy Mass and a short meeting with the Pope. I also spoke with Cardinal Bertone, Secretary of State, the person who in the Vatican is playing the role of partly Prime Minister and partly Foreign Minister. This exchange was extremely interesting, taking barely over half an hour but focused on exchanging very important views concerning two matters in fact. First of all it was about John Paul II – his sanctity. Secondly these were matters connected with Christian values. The Berlin Declaration – as is know the adamant “no” of President Chirac did not permit their being contained in the Declaration – as well as the case of the future potential European Constitution. I hope that this beatification or canonisation of the Holy Father will take place during my term-of-office. It is not actually the question of whether I will still be President or not, because this is immaterial. The point is that it takes places as soon as possible. I spoke with the Prelate about this, he told me about the possible timing. The time is indeed short however our exchange was strictly private and I will not convey what was said. In the embassy we met with eminent hierarchs of Polish nationality in the Roman Catholic Church who devoted their lives in part to service in the Vatican and in part to extremely difficult mission work. This was as usual a very interesting discussion, as usual I feel very comfortable in this embassy.”

Then the President attended Holy Mass intended for John Paul II, celebrated by Benedict XVI on St. Peter’s Square.

The President also met with Pope Benedict XVI and at approximately 9:00 p.m. he went down to the Vatican Grottoes where he prayed at the grave of John Paul II.

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