Catalan president meets with Pope Francis in Vatican 

Last serving president to meet a pontiff was Jordi Pujol in 1981

Pope Francis meets with Catalan president Pere Aragonès on November 6, 2023
Pope Francis meets with Catalan president Pere Aragonès on November 6, 2023 / Courtesy of the Vatican
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Vatican

November 6, 2023 05:55 PM

November 6, 2023 08:10 PM

Catalan President Pere Aragonès had a private audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican on Monday. 

During the 40-minute meeting, Aragonès and the Pope discussed various international issues, such as the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. Both shared their concern, especially about its "impact on the civilian population." 

Aragonès also spoke to the pontiff about his efforts to tackle inequality in Catalonia, highlighting his policies on housing, education and integration. They both stressed "the need to progress towards diplomatic solutions that grant the right to life and freedom to everyone." 


Aragonès described the meeting as "very kind" and hailed the diplomatic efforts of the Pope. He gifted Francis with a Sant Jordi estatue and books by Catalan writers Jacint Verdaguer and Joan Maragall.  

It’s the first time that a serving Catalan president meets with the head of the Catholic Church since 1981, when former president Jordi Pujol came face to face with Pope John Paul II during his visit in Catalonia.  

Asked about the position of the Pope on issues like the amnesty bill or the relations between Catalonia and Spain, Aragonès said he did not want to speak on behalf of the Pope.  

"We have not gone into details, it is not the topic you discuss in these kinds of meetings," he said. 

However, Aragonès added that Francis is "well versed in the political history of Spain and Catalonia." 

Aragonès did mention that they spoke of "dialogue and negotiation," a path that the pontiff indicated as the way to reach agreements. 

Pedro Sánchez's PM bid

The Catalan president avoided commenting on the ongoing negotiations between Catalan pro-independence party Junts and the Socialists for the reelection of Pedro Sánchez as prime minister. 

Aragonès said the agreement reached by ERC and the Socialists last week was positive for Catalonia, highlighting that many governments before his had sought it without ever accomplishing it. 

 "Many have worked to achieve a comprehensive transfer of Rodalies commuter rail service," he said. 

Aragonès added that he believes ERC's deal with Pedro Sánchez will be met positively across Catalonia.