Angela Merkel discusses Europe's economy with the Pope


Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and Pope Francis exchanges gifts after their meeting in his private library at the Vatican on May 18, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican.


Guido Bergmann/Bundesregierung-Pool

German chancellor Angela Merkel visited the Vatican on Saturday and discussed Europe's economic woes with the Pope.

During Merkel's 45-minute private meeting with Pope Francis, the pair spoke about regulating Europe's financial markets. The visit is considered particularly long for a private papal audience.

Merkel said they discussed globalization, strengthening a unified European Union and Europe's role in the global economy.

"Pope Francis made it clear that we need a strong, fair Europe and I found the message very encouraging," Merkel said.

The meeting comes two days after Francis called for global financial reform condemned the world's leaders for ignoring the plight of the poor and what he referred to as the "cult of money."

More from GlobalPost: Pope Francis criticizes global 'cult of money'

Earlier this week in his first major speech on financial matters, the pontiff said money should be made to “serve” not “rule” people, the Daily Telegraph reported.

After the meeting, Merkel told reporters the excesses that Francis had spoken of show that the current system of checks and balances was not functioning properly.