Leaders' Wives Visit Pope


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VATICAN CITY, JULY 8, 2009 ( Benedict XVI was visited today by the wives of some of the presidents and prime ministers in Italy for the Group of Eight meeting; he used the occasion to urge these influential women to help Africa.

The audience was in a room adjacent to Paul VI Hall, where the Pope held today's general audience. Filming by the Vatican Television Center showed the Holy Father advocating that the G-8 summit leaders make a commitment for Africa's development. The summit is under way in L'Aquila through Friday.

Those in attendance included the wives of the presidents of Mexico and South Africa, the prime ministers of Great Britain, India and Sweden, and the president of the European Commission. Also present was Josette Sheeran, president of the United Nations World Food Programme.

During the general audience, speaking in English, the Holy Father asked prayers "for all those who serve in politics and the management of economies, and in particular let us pray for the heads of state gathering in Italy for the G-8 summit. May their decisions promote true development especially for the world's poor."