Merkel meets Pope and Draghi on farewell visit to Rome
The Italian priest, Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza (C) welcomes German Chancellor Angela Merkel upon her arrival at the Vatican for a meeting with the Pope on October 7, 2021. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday discussed climate change and clergy abuse with Pope Francis during a farewell trip to Rome that included talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi
Merkel, who is retiring after 16 years in power, also visited St. Peter’s Basilica and will have lunch at a restaurant in central Rome before delivering a speech at a peace conference at the Colosseum. She was honored with a welcoming ceremony by the Swiss Guards at the Vatican before meeting and exchanging gifts with the Pope, whom she has already met several times. She later said they had discussed climate change – an issue Francis has been candid about – and sexual abuse by children of the clergy, an issue that has rocked the Catholic Church in Germany and elsewhere. “Merkel, the daughter of a Lutheran clergyman, told reporters.“ I wanted to stress during my visit that we believe that the truth must come out and that the subject must be dealt with. institute within the Vatican Gregoriana University dedicated to the protection of children and met Hans Zollner, the Vatican’s main expert on measures for the protection of minors. She was next to meet Draghi, with whom she worked closely for years, especially when he was at the European Central Bank – and where they didn’t always agree. Merkel will remain in an interim capacity while her successors bargain to form a coalition.
Germany is gradually moving towards a government led by Olaf Scholz after the Greens and the liberal FDP party said on Wednesday they would attempt a three-way rapprochement with its Social Democrats while avoiding Merkel’s conservatives. CSU bloc closer to the opposition, in a major change for the country after a decade and a half of Merkel’s center-right government.
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