Unpopular Hollande to meet Pope Francis
VATICAN CITY (AFP) - French President Francois Hollande will meet Pope Francis this month, the Vatican said on Thursday, after failing to visit on four previous trips to Rome since being elected and with his popularity at a low ebb.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters that the meeting would take place on Jan 24.
France's Socialist government and the Vatican have been at odds over a variety of issues including the recent legalisation of gay marriage and plans to legalise euthanasia, which goes against Catholic doctrine.
There is common ground, however, on the desire for social justice and peace, particularly in conflict-torn parts of Africa, as well as the protection of Christian minorities in the Middle East and environmental issues.