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French President Hollande meets Pope Francis as sex scandal swirls

Published on Jan 24, 2014 10:19 PM
France's President Francois Hollande (left) meets with Pope Francis during a private audience on Jan 24, 2014, at the Vatican. -- PHOTO: AFP 

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - French President Francois Hollande met Pope Francis on Friday amid a swirling scandal over his love life and deep divisions in France over hot-button issues including abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage.

An embattled Mr Hollande shook hands with a glum-looking Pope at the start of the private audience, and a high-ranking prelate told AFP he expected that there would be "no holds barred" in their conversation.

The Vatican said in a statement after the talks that the two discussed "constructive cooperation for the common good", as well as issues including "family, bioethics and the respect of religious communities".

Mr Hollande said he and the Pope had the "same concern" about the status of Christian minorities in the Middle East and he hailed the pope's "radiant personality".

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