VATICAN CITY (CNS): Pope John Paul II and Queen Elizabeth II of England, meeting at the Vatican, expressed their hopes that the Jubilee Year would bring progress in Christian unity and in assistance to the world’s poorest people.
The Pope welcomed the Queen to the Vatican on October 17, 20 years to the day after Queen Elizabeth’s first meeting with the pontiff at the Vatican.
After a 20-minute private meeting and the introduction of the Queen’s entourage, including Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, the Pope and the Queen exchanged envelopes containing the texts of their speeches written for the occasion, but not read.
The 80 year-old Polish Pope wrote to the 74 year-old Queen: “You and I have personally lived through one of Europe’s most terrible wars, and we see clearly the need to build a deep and enduring European unity, firmly rooted in the genuine human and spiritual genius of Europe’s peoples”.
Within Europe and throughout the world, he said, the 54-nation British Commonwealth and the Catholic Church must place their resources at the service of justice and peace.
Queen Elizabeth wrote in her speech to the Pope: “I welcome and admire your personal commitment” to the cause of alleviating poverty.