“No longer fertile”

Pope Francis says Merkel was upset after he called Europe a “barren woman”

REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Pope Francis has revealed that he received an angry phone call from German Chancellor Angela Merkel after his speech for the European Parliament in November 2014, where he had described the continent as a barren woman, saying it was “now a grandmother, no longer fertile and vibrant.” Describing the phone call to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, the pope said Merkel was upset at the remarks and asked him if he really thought Europe could no longer make children. “I told her yes it can, and many, because Europe has strong and deep roots,” the pope said, explaining that he wasn’t pessimistic about the continent’s future, because “in the darkest moments it has always shown itself to have unexpected resources.”

In the 2014 papal address, the pope had painted a bleak picture of Europe, criticizing it for its treatment of immigrants and elderly people and its high rates of youth unemployment, saying it gave a “general impression of weariness and aging,” and telling the European legislators in Strasbourg that “the great ideas that once inspired Europe seem to have lost their attraction, only to be replaced by the bureaucratic technicalities of its institutions.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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