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Pope Benedict XVI received the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy on Saturday. A statement from the Press Office of the Holy See says that their discussions took place in an atmosphere of great cordiality, and provided an opportunity for a fruitful exchange of opinions on the international situation, and on the contribution the Catholic Church wishes to make to the European Union. The statement goes on to say that, during the course of the meeting, attention also turned to the promotion of human rights and, in particular, of religious freedom.