The question whether Pope Francis called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas an “angel of peace” when they met on Saturday continued to reverberate on Tuesday, with Israeli officials saying the Vatican denied this is how the pope characterized Abbas.
Israeli representatives officially approached the Vatican and asked for a clarification, one official said, adding that the Vatican said the remarks as widely reported were not stated.
Francis met with Abbas at the Vatican and presented him with a large bronze medallion representing the angel of peace, one of his customary gifts to visiting presidents.
According to a reporter representing several news agencies at the meeting, the Argentinean pontiff – speaking in Italian – received Abbas at the papal apartments and said the medallion was an appropriate gift because “you are a bit of an angel of peace.”
There were conflicting reports whether the pope urged Abbas to be an “angel of peace” or if he had described him as such.