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Italy's president lauds pope on his 82nd birthday

17 dicembre 2018 | 17.42
LETTURA: 1 minuti

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Bloomberg photo by Giulio Napolitano

In a message to mark Pope Francis's 82nd birthday on Monday, Italy's president Sergio Mattarella thanked the Argentinian pontiff for his unstinting calls for social justice, dialogue and reconciliation.

"Your Holiness, through your teachings, reiterated during your many meetings and major apostolic journeys this year alone, you have ceaselessly urged the countries you have visited and the entire international community to tackle today's challenges in a just and courageous way and to heal social rifts through dialogue and mutual understanding, leading peoples to reconciliation," he said.

In the coming weeks, millions of men and women, believers and non-believers alike will "thankfully" be able to listen to Francis' seasonal messages "that bring universal hope and invoke a more authentic testimony to the spiritual and moral values of Christmas," Mattarella's message went on.

"For many years to come Your Holiness, and with renewed greetings also for the coming Christmas festivities, I send you the highest esteem and sincere affection of all Italians, " the message concluded.

In separate message, the speaker of Italy's Senate upper house of parliament Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati, send birthday greetings to Francis, thanking him for his "consistency and tireless courage" in delivering his "message of peace, hope, fraternity and justice".

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