Pope Francis meets with President of Timor-Leste

Jan 22, 2024 | Features, International Relations, Vatican

Pope Francis met on Monday with East Timorese president José Manuel Ramos-Horta in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.

Following the papal audience, President Ramos-Horta met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations.

‘Cordial discussions’

According to a statement from the Holy See Press Office, the meeting with the Secretariat of State emphasized “the good existing relations between the Holy See and East Timor, along with the contribution the Catholic Church offers daily to the country.”

The “cordial” discussions then moved to a consideration of various aspects of “the economic and social situation of the country and the problems caused in the region by climate change.”

The meeting concluded with “an exchange of opinions on the international and regional situation, with reference to the countries of South East Asia.”

Exchange of gifts

At the audience with Pope Francis, which lasted for about 45 minutes, the Holy Father presented President Ramos-Horta with a bronze sculpture representing fraternity, along with several volumes of papal documents and this year’s Message for Peace.

The President, for his part, offered the Pope a typical “tais” cloth with an image of Pope Francis painted by a local craftsman; a rosary made with sandalwood stones; and some East Timorese coffee produced from beans consumed by native marsupials.

He also gave the Pope a copy of the Document on Fraternity signed by the parliament of Timor-Leste.