Pope Benedict XVI has sent his best wishes to Barack Obama on his re-election as president of the United States, while also highlighting the president's "serious responsibilities" and the nation's "ideals of freedom and justice."
In a message, conveyed through the apostolic nunciature in Washington, the Pope "expresses his best wishes to the president on his new mandate and gives assurances of his prayers to God to help him carry out his serious responsibilities, both in his own country and within the international community," a Vatican statement reads.
"The Pope also speaks of his hope that the ideals of freedom and justice, which guided the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, may continue to shine out as the nation progresses," it continues.
The same statement also contains comments on the election results made by the Holy See Press Office's director, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, in response to questions from reporters:
"As we all know, the U.S. president has an immense responsibility, not only in his own country, but also towards the rest of the world, given the role the U.S.A. plays at an international level," Father Lombardi said.
"For this reason, we hope that President Obama, reconfirmed in his duties today by the elections just completed, will respond to his fellow citizens' expectations, serving law and justice for the good and development of all people and respecting essential human and spiritual values while promoting a culture of life and religious freedom — always so precious in the tradition of the American people and its culture — so that it can find the best ways to promote the material and spiritual welfare of all; so that it can effectively promote integral human development, justice and peace in the world."