Angela Merkel was in private audience with the pope and has apparently invited Francis to make a return visit to Germany. This is what Volker Resing, editor-in-chief of Herder Korrespondenz, reports in an interview with our site. He accompanied the chancellor to Rome.
Interviewer: The audience with the Holy Father is said to have lasted about 40 minutes. What was discussed?
Volker Resing (Herder Correspondence): Topics included Germany's G7 presidency, poverty reduction and health aid for developing countries. It was a special concern of the chancellor to talk about this with the pope. According to her, Francis encouraged her to move forward on the ie of poverty, health and development. A special topic was also the promotion of women. Afterwards, the chancellor said in a press conference that the pope and she agreed that women and families have a key position, especially in developing countries, and that the advancement of women is a common concern.
Interviewer: Angela Merkel brought a gift of money from the German government to Rome. This is to support refugees, isn't it??
Volker Resing (Herder Korrespondenz): She brought a total of three gifts with her: a check for the papal charity Cor Unum. This will support a refugee project in Jordan, where Syrian refugees are being helped. It was important to the chancellor to support this project. She also brought a CD collection of Bach and a book for the pope – so something personal and something political.
Interviewer: After the audience, the German Chancellor spoke about the meeting with Pope Francis at a press conference. What did she say?
Volker Resing (Herder Correspondence): It was a short press statement and the Chancellor said that the meeting with the Pope had given her a lot and had encouraged her in her commitment. Later, at the reception of the Community of Sant Egilio, she stressed her appreciation for the commitment of the Community and the Pope to peace. And she mentioned that she had also spoken with the Pope about current crises, especially about Ukraine.
Interviewer: During her first private audience with Pope Francis, Angela Merkel suggested that the next time they meet, they should go out for a pizza. But I think in this respect today the kitchen remained cold.
Volker Resing (Herder Correspondence): Yes, the pizza in the piazza failed to materialize. That would be, so to speak, in the diplomatic custom almost impossible. Whereby with Pope Francis is so unconventional that also that would not be excluded perhaps. But one hears that Merkel invited the pope in her conversation to Berlin. It's not quite official, but the word is that Merkel would be delighted if the pope came to Germany. Maybe we can have a meal together. Surely the two will meet again – as well as they seem to understand each other. So the common meal is not excluded in the future.