Visiting Rome, Emmanuel Macron will be received Friday morning by Pope Francis for the second time in his five-year term, a gesture towards Catholics five months before the presidential election.

During this new hearing, the French President and Pope Francis should notably address the migratory crises at the gates of Europe, after the shipwreck which claimed the lives of 27 migrants on Wednesday in the Channel, according to diplomatic sources.

Another delicate subject is the recent Sauvé report on sexual abuse in the Church in France, on which the Pope has already expressed his “immense sadness” and a feeling of “shame”.

The French president could finally want to appease on the file of the PMA for the couples of women, criticized by the Church.

Emmanuel Macron explained to several media Thursday evening his differences with the Pope on the subject of migrants.

“We must welcome, it is constitutional asylum, we have an interest in welcoming, because we do not operate sectors of the economy without it. On the other hand, welcoming everyone is not sustainable in the balances of our countries, “he told La Croix newspaper.

“The Pope sees the imbalances caused by migratory crises, he feels very well that entire peoples are affected by this. If we do not protect our national integrity, we risk fueling in return very harsh nationalisms, phenomena that the “Europe had known how to domesticate. But everyone is in their role. The Pope has no border to manage,” he added.

Through this visit to the Vatican, a month after that of his Prime Minister Jean Castex, Emmanuel Macron spares a Catholic electorate with whom relations have been cooled by the adoption of the bioethics law as well as the restrictions on access to funerals and the holding of masses during the health crisis.

The reminder of the law concerning the secrecy of confession has also been a bone of contention.

– Franco-Italian treaty –

And another tension could arise if he included in the program of a second five-year term the right to die, as some of his relatives wish.

Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the Vatican is a mark of respect in a relationship that has been a roller coaster. In April 2018, in front of the bishops meeting in the College of Bernardins, in Paris, Emmanuel Macron said he wanted to “repair the link between the Church and the State” which “has been damaged”. He was also the first president to visit Lourdes in July.

But he also declared, with regard to the law on assisted reproduction, that the voice of the Church on matters of society “cannot be injunctive”.

Another goal of his trip, the signing of the Quirinal Treaty, concluded between France and Italy, which will focus on strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the defense and security sector, said the Italian Ministry of Defense.

This treaty encompasses other common subjects, such as culture and education, common engagement in the Mediterranean and Africa as well as cooperation in the field of space, the Italian government said. The opportunity to strengthen ties with an ally one month before the start of the French presidency of the EU.



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