German Chancellor Angela Merkel Visits Pope Francis

German Leader Says Pontiff Encouraged Her to Find a Peaceful Solution in Ukraine

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This Saturday morning, Pope Francis received German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Vatican.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine was at the center of discussions with the Pope, Merkel reportedly told journalists following the audience. She also said that Pope Francis gave her “a lot of encouragement» to proceed «decidedly and determinedly» to find a peaceful solution in the war-torn nation.

According a communique issued by the Holy See Press Office the same day, the encounter between the Pope and German leader was cordial. The two leaders focused on the fight against poverty and international crises, especially that in eastern Ukraine.

The wide-ranging talks, it stated, touched on topics such as the alleviation of poverty, the role of women in developing countries, equality, and Germany’s agenda for the upcoming G7 Summit in the southern German state of Bavaria in June.

While Pope Francis presented Merkel with a medallion depicting St. Martin giving his coat to the needy and said it aimed to remind world leaders their job is «to protect their poor,» German Chancellor Merkel gave the Pope a CD with music by Johann Sebastian Bach and a donation to help children affected by conflicts in the Middle East.

After her audience with the Holy Father, which marks the second since the start of his pontificate, the German Chancellor met Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, accompanied by Archbishop Richard Gallagher, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States.

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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