BONN, Germany — Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, praised outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel for her 16 years in office and thanked her for her “tireless service” as Germany’s chancellor.
The German Catholic news agency KNA reported that, in a letter, the bishop recalled the great responsibility which Merkel had “borne and shaped with vision and with impressively positive assertiveness.” As a Christian and with a Christian-based foundation of values, she had succeeded in always keeping “in view the people in our country and the worldwide responsibility of our country,” said the letter, published by the bishops’ conference.
Merkel did not stand for reelection in Germany’s lower house of parliament elections Sept. 26. Her withdrawal from politics was announced long beforehand, but she remains in power until a new government — for which intensive negotiations are still taking place among the political parties — takes over, KNA reported.
“In all of our encounters, I sensed a high regard, thirst for knowledge and a search for joint approaches of church and state to the pending problems of our country,” Bätzing said. He thanked Merkel “for all the goodwill and reliable partnership — particularly in the difficult issues.”
Despite the challenges posed by migration since 2015 and by the coronavirus pandemic, Bätzing said, Germany stood today with stability and with a perspective. “This is not in the least thanks to your prudent, clear and wise action,” he said. He told Merkel she showed a “visionary strength” that she had applied on behalf of Europe.
As a result, the international perspective is closely linked to the name of the chancellor, the bishop added. She had always sensibly weighed the ethical issues, while her handling of migration issues had always been humanitarian and “characterized by a spirit of charity,” the bishop said.
It would only be in the upcoming years that Germany could first truly measure what Merkel had achieved, Bätzing wrote. He appealed to the outgoing chancellor to continue to raise her voice “for the well-being of the people in our country, in Europe, and in a global perspective.”