Berlin (AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office on Tuesday said she had no memory of an angry phone call she reportedly made to Pope Francis after he compared Europe to a "barren woman".
"The chancellor does not recall a phone call with the pope," a spokesman for Merkel told AFP, adding that she always "values any meeting with him extremely".
Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper had on Monday quoted the pontiff as saying Merkel had called him after he had delivered a withering attack on a "haggard" Europe in a November 2014 address, saying it is "now a 'grandmother', no longer fertile and vibrant."
The pope was quoted as saying in the interview: "She was a bit angry because I had compared Europe to a barren woman, incapable of producing children."
"She asked me if I really thought Europe could no longer make children.
"I told her: yes it can, and many, because Europe has strong and deep roots," he said, adding that "in the darkest moments, it has always shown itself to have unexpected resources."