‘People above banks,’ Pope Francis tells Tsipras at the Vatican

Pope Francis received SYRIZA head Alexis Tsipras in a scheduled, private meeting which reportedly lasted 45 minutes at the Vatican on Thursday morning.

“People should be above markets and profits,” the Argentinean-born Catholic leader, also knows as Pope of the Poor, reportedly told the Greek leftist politician as the two met to discuss issues regarding social injustice, poverty and the ongoing crisis in Europe.

Speaking to the press following the meeting, Tsipras noted that the two leaders had discussed the financial crisis, which they agreed was not solely economic, but a crisis of values.

Tsipras said he urged the Pope to take an initiative with regard to continuous conflict in the Middle East and Ukraine. He said the two also discussed the matter of immigration and changes in European policy regarding this issue.

The SYRIZA chief also noted that he described to the Pope the situation in Greece following four years of austerity. “I explained to him that was done was to save the banks, not the people,” Tsipras said.

According to Tsipras, the two leaders agreed that the dialogue between the Left and the Church should continue as the two sides share common values, including social justice and world peace.

Thursday’s meeting came after Tsipras spent two days at the semi-autonomous monastic community of Mount Athos, in northern Greece, in August.

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