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The encounter between the two men, the symbol of this moment: the Pontiff that comes from” the other end of the world”, the flogger of hypocrisy and ardent reformer of the Church, and the constitutionalist, newly elected President who already has been called to restore ethics and morality in the palaces of power. Two figures, similar in some respects, Pope Bergoglio and Mattarella pay more attention to the substance than form and try to change the Vatican and Italy by setting an example. Both shun honours and unbridled luxury which traditionally is associated to their respective positions, and prefer frugality and simplicity. On the one side, the Head of State who travels by train and by plane queueing up as a normal passenger would, the Bishop of Rome with the silver cross and the creased black bag, who prefers the austere Domus Sanctae Marthae to the glories of the Apostolic Palace. Mattarella’ visit ot the Pope, scheduled for today, is therefore symbolic under many aspects. It comes at a delicate moment for Pope Bergoglio, the target of Turkey’s attacks following the Pope’s brave words on the Armenian genocide 100 years ago.

The President of the Republic will be received by the Pope at 10am and after the private audience, will have talks with Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State. The tenant of the Quirinal, who officially will be accompanied by his daughter, Laura-also present Manfredi, Maria Chiara and Constance Comella and grandchildren Sergio and Piergiorgio-will also be followed by, in addition to the head of the Foreign Ministry, the Ambassador of Italy to the Holy Seat Daniele Mancini, Secretary General of the Quirinal Ugo Zachariah, the diplomatic Affairs Adviser Antonio Zanardi Landi and other councillors of the Capitol Hill. Receiving the delegation will be Monsignor Georg Gaenswein ,prefect of the Pontificial household, with the General Vatican Adviser Cesare Mirabelli and Commander of the Swiss guards Colonel Christoph Graf. Once the two national anthems in the San Damaso Courtyard have been played, Mattarella will move to the second Loggia and after crossing the Sala Clementina, where he will be greeted by Bishop Konrad Krajewski, the Pope’s almoner, who will go to the Throne Room where he will meet the Holy Father.

The private conversation will take place, as usual, in the Auditorium of the library; in the end, two official speeches will be delivered, before that of Pope Francis, followed by that of the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella. Then, there will be a moment for the Exchange of gifts, a convivial and the leave between the Pontiff and the head of State, in the Small room. The presidential motorcade will then the first Lodge, for the meeting with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State.

In the Regal Room, then, the President will meet with the diplomatic corps and attend the speech to be delivered by Cardinal Parolin. After the presentations of Heads of missions accredited to the Head of State i sto go to the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica, where he will be received by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Vicar General of Pope Francis forthe Vatican city and Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Peter’s. Here, after a brief visit to the chapel of the Holy Sacrament and the altar of confession, the official leave and return to the Quirinale.

Translation provided by Marina Stronati

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