Vatican City

Pope receives Romanian president and Ligurian bishops

Pontiff and Basescu spoke without an interpreter

Pope receives Romanian president and Ligurian bishops

Vatican City, February 15 - Pope Benedict XVI met with the President of Romania and Ligurian bishops on Friday. Pope Ratzinger held a 20-minute private audience and spoke with President Traian Basescu without the presence of an interpreter. Basescu presented him with a large history of Romania printed on cotton paper, produced with supervision from the Romanian Orthodox Church. After the audience he met briefly with Vatican journalists who thanked him for his teaching and service to the Church and said they would pray for him. Ligurian bishops led by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa and President of the Italian Bishops' Conference, also made an ad limina visit to the 85-year-old pontiff who shocked the world when he became the first pope in modern history to resign on Monday. "The figure of Peter does not decline," Pope Benedict XVI told the bishops, who later said they found him to be "very calm and serene". "Of course he invited us to pray for him and encouraged us to remain united with the Church and to pray because Jesus' promise to (build the Church on) Peter is one that is fulfilled," Monsignor Alberto Maria Careggio, Bishop of Ventimiglia-San Remo, told Vatican Radio.

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