King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia discussed the social effects of youth unemployment and the situation in Spain with Pope Francis during a nearly one-hour private audience Monday at the Vatican.
The Spanish monarchs’ first audience with the pope, who they greeted on Sunday at the end of the canonization ceremony for John XXIII and John Paul II, lasted an unusually long 53 minutes and was conducted in Spanish, officials said.
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia gave the Argentine-born pope two books on the works of the Spanish mystics St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila.
The white-leather covers of the books bear the papal seal and the coat of arms of the Spanish Royal Family.
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia also reviewed world affairs and the situation in Ukraine with the pontiff.
The Spanish monarchs discussed a possible papal visit to Spain with Francis for 2015, the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, but they did not extend an official invitation because the Spanish bishops already did so.
The pope gave King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia a bronze piece of St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square with the apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel) on it.
The Spanish monarchs introduced their official delegation to the pope following the private audience.
Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, head of the Royal Household Rafael Spottorno and Spanish Ambassador to the Holy See Eduardo Gutierrez Saenz de Buruaga were among the officials in the delegation.