Rome: Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia met Pope Francis on Tuesday (10 January) and other top Vatican officials. The Holy See described the meeting as “cordial conversations”.
Meloni, who was elected to office in October as the head of the most right-leaning government in Italy’s postwar past, is a strong Catholic conservative.
She tweeted that it was an honour and strong emotion to be able to talk to the Holy Father about the major issues of our times.
The 45-year old politician is against abortion and suspicious of LGBT rights. She has also famously described herself as “a mother”, an “Italian” and “a Christian”.
There are potential fault lines, however, between Francis and the pope. Francis is vocal in her support of migrants’ rights, while she supports tough border policies.
Meloni admitted that she has not always understood Pope Francis. She wrote this in her 2021 autobiography. In it, Meloni expressed a preference to Pope John Paul II.
She said that Francis would be an ideal person to meet because of his big eyes and straight talk.
The pair met on Tuesday for 35 minutes. After that, Meloni spoke with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher and the Vatican’s foreign secretary.
“During the cordial conversations,” Meloni and Parolin discussed “a number of topics relating to Italy’s social situation”, which included poverty and education.
The statement also mentioned Europe, Ukraine, and migration without getting into too many details.
Meloni, her unmarried partner and a TV journalist, entered the papal meeting in black. She was accompanied by their six-year old daughter.
She and the pope exchanged gifts in keeping with tradition. Meloni, a collector of these items, gave Francis an angel statuette.