Pope focuses on charity in Merkel meeting

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has visited Rome to meet Pope Francis in advance of the upcoming G7 summit in Munich this June.

Speaking after the unusually long 40-minute audience, Ms Merkel said the main purpose of her visit had been to outline the summit agenda, as its emphasis on the elimination of poverty was “of particular importance for the Pope and the Catholic Church”.

Other issues discussed included women’s rights, world health issues, and the situation in Ukraine.

Afterwards, the Pontiff gave Ms Merkel a copy of Evangelii Gaudium translated into German and a medallion depicting St Martin giving his coat to the poor, as a reminder that world leaders have a duty “to protect their poor” while the Chancellor gave him a donation to help children fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and a collection of Bach CDs.