According to the official press release from the Presidential House of Costa Rica in Zapote, the meeting was brief and cordial, and the Pope extended to President Chinchilla his admiration for the people of Costa Rica and the nation’s commitment to peace, democracy, development, and environmental protection.
President Laura Chinchilla welcomed the opportunity to meet at the Vatican and also thanked the Pope for his offer of support in 2010 when Tropical Storm Tomas descended upon Costa Rica. She also thanked the Pope for mentioning Costa Rica twice on his Urbi et Orbi papal address that same year. Aside from offering support to our country in 2010, the Pope encouraged Costa Rica to open up to dialog with Nicaragua over the Isla Calero conflict, known in some circles as the “Google Maps Invasion.”
Another subject discussed at the meeting was the bilateral treaty in effect between the Vatican and Costa Rica. The two sovereign countries form part of a bloc of Roman Catholic nations by virtue of their constitutions. The other three Roman Catholic countries are Liechtenstein, Malta and Monaco.
Prior to the meeting, many Ticos had speculated on the topics that would be discussed at the Vatican, including the status of in vitro fertilization and even the future of Costa Rica as a secular nation. As previously reported in The Costa Rica Star, some legislators in the last few years have been pushing for a constitutional amendment to give all religions equal footing in our country, and the Vatican may not object as part of a strategy. By removing itself from politics, the Vatican has more room to work in spiritual matters -which in the end could help Catholicism remain strong in Costa Rica and other Latin American nations.
Chancellor Enrique Castillo, Ambassador Fernando Sanchez, and Minister of Agriculture Gloria Abraham were also present at the Vatican meeting.