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Irish president meets Benedict XVI

 Irish President Mary McAleese had a private audience with Pope Benedict on Friday. During the meeting they discussed the importance of Europe's Christian roots. The also spoke about developments in the Northern Ireland peace process and talked about Ireland's committment to the developing world. "In the course of the discussions, which took place in an atmosphere of great cordiality, attention turned to problems associated with the situation of the Church in Ireland, concentrating particularly on the positive start of 'structured dialogue' between the state and Churches -- in the spirit of the new European Constitutional Treaty -- as a promising way toward a positive contribution of Churches to the life of society," the press office said. It added: "Consideration was also given to other more general questions such as the construction of Europe and its Christian roots, and developments in the peace process in Northern Ireland. "Particular appreciation was expressed for Irish commitment to providing disinterested aid for the development of the poorest countries of Africa, with its White Paper on Aid." After the meeting with the Holy Father, President McAleese was received by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state. Source: VIS