(Vatican Radio) The President of the German Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, has sent a message of condolence following the death of the former German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, who died on Friday. In the message he wrote, "the Church in Germany is grateful for the Christian testimony of Helmut Kohl. Wherever the values of a free society were trampled on in the world, he pledged that these values be respected. He wanted and knew how to show his Christian convictions in Europe. "
Among his priorities, the Cardinal added, he "worked for a social market economy founded on the Church's social doctrine." Chancellor Kohl, recalls Cardinal Marx was a regular guest of the Katholikentag. With courage and perseverance, the cardinal emphasized, the chancellor, combined with visionary force had the "great ability to negotiate German unity".
At the same time, recalled the president of the German Bishops' Conference, he was "the chancellor of the European idea" and played a major and decisive role in the growth of a united Europe without frontiers. " Kohl, who also played a central role in the Treaty of Maastricht, had repeatedly stressed that Germany and Europe are "two faces of the same coin", the cardinal said.
In the message of condolence, the cardinal also recalled the meetings of Chancellor Kohl with Pope John Paul II during the visits of the Pontiff in Germany in 1987 and 1996, when they visited the Brandenburg Gate.
"The Catholic Church in Germany, said Cardinal Marx, was pained at news of Mr Kohl's death but was grateful for his Christian witness.