The New York Times, the Washington Post and other major news outlets have just reported that President Nelson has met with the Pope, the first meeting of its kind. Although the papers report that details have not been released, MormonNewsroom.org has a lot more to say.
President Nelson was accompanied by President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to the meeting inside the Vatican. After the meeting, which lasted a bit more than half an hour, President Nelson and President Ballard met with the press.
“We had a most cordial, unforgettable experience. His Holiness, he was most gracious and warm and welcoming,” said President Nelson. He continued, “What a sweet, wonderful man he is, and how fortunate the Catholic people are to have such a gracious, concerned, loving and capable leader.”
President Nelson said, “We talked about our mutual concern for the people who suffer throughout the world and want to relieve human suffering. We talked about the importance of religious liberty, the importance of the family, our mutual concern for the youth of the Church, for the secularization of the world and the need for people to come to God and worship Him, pray to Him and have the stability that faith in Jesus Christ will bring in their lives.”
According to President Ballard, they spoke of the close relations the two faiths have in working together on humanitarian projects. “We explained to His Holiness that we work side by side, that we have projects with Catholic Relief Services all over the world in over 43 countries. [We’ve] been shoulder to shoulder as partners in trying to relieve suffering. He was very interested in that.”
Elder Alessandro Dini-Ciacci, a local leader in Rome, also attended the meeting. “How inspiring it was for me to witness two of the leaders of the leading faiths in the world meet together and share brotherhood,” he said. “This is beautiful to witness and something we can sure learn from in our association with people of other faiths.” Elder Massimo De Feo of the Seventy was present and said the leaders immediately connected. “It was a wonderful feeling to see how they seemed to be like old friends after a minute. President Nelson and Pope Francis share so much love and mutual respect for each other” (MormonNewsroom.org).