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German Protestant leader meets with Pope

April 22, 2016

Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, the chairman of the Evangelical Church in Germany, met with Pope Francis on April 21 in Domus Sanctae Marthae.

The Evangelical Church in Germany is a federation of 20 Lutheran, Reformed, and other Protestant communities. The meeting—the first between Bedford-Strohm and the Pope—was not included on the Holy See Press Office’s list of the day’s audiences.

Bedford-Strohm told the Archdiocese of Cologne’s radio station that during their hour-long meeting, he and the Pope discussed ecumenical initiatives, refugees, and the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

Bedford-Strohm expressed appreciation for the Pope’s words and gestures in these areas and added that he was struck by the Pope’s warmth and simplicity.

“We met as brothers,” he said. “That gives me hope.”

Bedford-Strohm added that he was surprised by the Pope’s ease in speaking in German. Pope Francis, he said, spoke with him in German and Italian, with Cardinal Walter Kasper acting as translator when the Pope spoke in Italian.

 
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