Pope, Merkel discuss Ukraine, poverty

2015-02-21 16:41
Pope Francis speaks with Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, during a private audience in the pontiff's library, in the Vatican City. (Maurizio Brambatti, AFP)

Pope Francis speaks with Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, during a private audience in the pontiff's library, in the Vatican City. (Maurizio Brambatti, AFP)

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Vatican City - Pope Francis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the conflict in Ukraine and the fight against poverty during a private audience on Saturday.

The meeting was the second between the two since Francis's election as pope.

The Vatican described the climate in the meeting as "very cordial" while Merkel told reporters that the discussions were "wide-ranging, as expected", covering Ukraine, poverty, the role of women in developing countries, women's equality, and other items on Germany's agenda for its G7 presidency and summit in June.

"I was very happy to meet with the pope," said Merkel, whose father was a Lutheran pastor. "He gave me a lot of encouragement."

The 40-minute meeting was longer than usual for the Vatican, although Merkel and Francis's previous private audience lasted 45 minutes, suggesting a good working relationship. They spoke through translators.

Francis presented Merkel with a medallion depicting St. Martin giving his coat to the poor, saying it served as a reminder to world leaders that their job is "to protect their poor". Merkel responded: "We try to do our best." He also gave her a copy of his encyclical, Evangelii gaudium, (The Joy of the Gospel) translated into German.

Merkel gave the pope an envelope containing a donation to help children fleeing conflicts in the Middle East. She also presented the pontiff with a collection of music by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Read more on:    angela merkel  |  pope francis  |  germany  |  vatican city

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