Chancellor meets Pope Francis

"We should not build walls, but tear them down"

Pope Francis received Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. One point discussed during the private audience was the agenda of this summer’s G20 summit in Hamburg.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Pope Francis in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace
The Pope encouraged her to continue to fight for international agreements, reported Angela Merkel Photo Bundesregierung/Bergmann

The Pope also praised former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who died on Friday.

It was the fifth time the Chancellor had met the head of the Roman Catholic Church. At the start of their meeting the Pope expressed his condolences following the death of Helmut Kohl, whom he described as a great statesman, reported Chancellor Angela Merkel in a statement to the press, following her private audience in the Vatican.

On her arrival in Rome the Chancellor received the news that former Chancellor Helmut Kohl had died on Friday at the age of 87. Angela Merkel praised the achievements of the Chancellor who presided over Germany’s reunification in a statement to the press in Rome.

G20 agenda the focus of meeting

Angela Merkel reported that she had discussed the agenda of Germany’s G20 Presidency with Pope Francis. "The agenda is based on the assumption that we are one world in which we want to cooperate at multilateral level, and in which we do not want to build walls but to tear walls down, a world in which everybody should see greater prosperity, wealth, honour and dignity." On this basis, continued the Chancellor, the G20 summit will discuss the global economy, but also the challenges posed by terrorism. The focus is to be on Africa, Europe’s neighbouring continent.

Continuing along the path of community

"The Pope very much welcomed this. He encouraged me to continue along this path and to continue fighting for international agreements, including the Paris Agreement. We know that the United States of America has regrettably chosen to withdraw from this agreement," said Angela Merkel.

The Chancellor spoke of a "very encouraging meeting, of the need to carry on along the path of community in spite of all the challenges encountered, and to try to achieve success for the entire global community step by step."

Angela Merkel visits Menorah Exhibition

Chancellor Angela Merkel at the exhibition "The Menorah: worship, history and myth" at the Vatican Museums open popup The Chancellor at the Menorah Exhibition at the Vatican Museums Photo Bundesregierung/Bergmann

Following her audience, Angela Merkel visited the exhibition "The Menorah: worship, history and myth" at the Vatican Museums. It is the first joint project launched by the Catholic Church and the World Jewish Congress, and has great cultural and symbolic value for both institutions. The tour of the exhibition, past 150 works of art, tells the history of the seven-branched menorah, which has become a symbol for the Jewish people.

Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Rome on Friday, where Annette Schavan, Germany’s Ambassador to the Holy See greeted her.

Fifth visit to Pope Francis

The Chancellor was invited to a private audience with Pope Francis in 2013 and 2015. In March 2013 she attended an inaugural mass for His Holiness and met Pope Francis briefly afterwards. Last year the Chancellor met the Pope for a private meeting on the occasion of the award of the International Charlemagne Prize in Rome.

Private audiences with one person or a group are generally held in the private library of the Head of the Catholic Church. The Pope meets with bishops who report on their dioceses. He also receives visits from politicians, scientists, diplomats and other representatives of cultural and societal life. In the course of a year the Pope holds between 450 and 500 private audiences of this sort.



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