Pope Francis was scheduled to attend the COP26 summit of world leaders in Glasgow, Scotland, in November but canceled at the last minute. The event was poised to address the major challenges brought on by climate change and set out new global objectives for the environment but ended with a somewhat lackluster outcome as countries failed to find common ground.
Starting Jan. 1, France will take on the rotating presidency of the European Union, and some observers consider the Italy-France treaty to be a sign of shifting power dynamics in the Old Continent following the turbulent Brexit negotiations.
The French president and the pope have met several times and have had at least four phone calls through the years. The political challenges of the Middle East and Northern Africa, where France continues to play a significant role, were also a topic of conversation at the Vatican.
In regard to Lebanon, specifically, torn by decades of violence and now facing a major economic decline, Pope Francis and Macron share a common vision for its future. On Thursday (Nov. 25), Macron wrote to Lebanese President Michel Aoun to assure him the international community is willing to help, “but Lebanese authorities must restore confidence in their country.”
In a private meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the Vatican the same day, Pope Francis voiced his support for the Lebanese people and said their country is a model of coexistence that represents “a message and even a promise worth fighting for.”
This article originally appeared here.