Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis met with His Eminence, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, State Secretary of the Holy See, on Thursday, May 12, in Rīga. During the meeting, the Prime Minister invited His Holiness Pope Francis to visit Latvia in 2018, when this country and the other Baltic States will be celebrating the centenary of their independence. The Cardinal thanked Mr Kučinskis for the invitation and promised to convey it to the Pope.
The Prime Minister emphasised the excellent relationship between Latvia and the Holy See. The Vatican has always supported Latvia’s aspirations for independence and never recognised the country’s incorporation into the Soviet Union. Mr Kučinskis also spoke about successful collaboration between the Roman Catholic Church and the Latvian government in the field of social justice. The Church helps to strengthen social values and provides specific assistance in rebuilding the country’s social environment, he said. The Prime Minister and the Cardinal also discussed current developments in Europe, including the issue of asylum seekers.