Napolitano congratulates Pope Francis

Says Italy will work with Holy See for rights, peace, justice

Napolitano congratulates Pope Francis

Rome, March 14 - Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Thursday congratulated Pope Francis on his election as 266th leader of the Catholic Church and said Italy was proud to would work with him on a global stage to help boost rights, peace and social justice. Napolitano said Francis's election was "cause of universal and joyous emotion (and) the Italian people is a special part of this", adding that the history and moral values of Italy and the Church were "indissolubly bound". "The figure of St Francis of Assisi, whom Your Holiness chose to be inspired by...embodies this shared spiritual richness". The Italian president stressed that the "solid links" between Italy and the Holy See "are aimed at pursuing the common good and promoting an international order which assures inviolable rights, the dignity and liberty of people, social justice and peace". Napolitano added that Italy was "proud that its historical capital is the centre of the Catholic Church and seat of the State of the Vatican City". He praised Francis's "simple" reference to his role as Bishop of Rome in his address to the crowds in St Peter's square Wednesday night. "With an identical and touching immediacy, your first message from the balcony of St Peter's reached the four corners of the globe".

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