MADRID – Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will travel to Rome on April 15 to be received in the Vatican by Pope Francis, government officials told Efe.
Rajoy will be the first European head of government to be received by the pope, whose Mass to initiate his pontificate was attended by the Spanish leader on March 19.
During the audience, Rajoy will repeat his invitation to the Argentine former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to visit Spain, a message previously delivered by Crown Prince Felipe during the conversation they had after the Mass at the beginning of Pope Francis’ papacy last month.
After Bergoglio’s election as pope, Rajoy sent him a telegram expressing his wish to maintain and even strengthen relations between “the Holy See and Spain, on the basis of the profound values we share: life, human dignity, freedom, peace and justice.”
Among the heads of government that the successor to Benedict XVI has received in the Vatican are the presidents of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez, and of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff. EFE