The Vatican has restrained itself from getting involved in the German election campaign during the World Youth Day in Cologne. There have been very few meetings between Benedict XVI – the first German pope in over 500 years – and German politicians. With the exception of an official state visit with German President Horst Köhler on Friday, the Pontiff only granted the country's top candidates for the Sept. 18 elections a 15-minute audience. After the brief meeting was over, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder declined to make any statements to waiting journalists. His challenger, Angela Merkel simply said of the talk with Benedict XVI: "We are all proud to have a German pope."