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President Barack Obama and Pope Francis Met for the First Time
As part of his tour of Europe and the Middle East, President Barack Obama met with Pope Francis for the first time Thursday. According to NBC News, Obama is the ninth president to make an official visit to the Vatican. Reuters reported that Obama said “It is a great honour. I’m a great admirer,” as the pope greeted him.
President Obama told reporters after the meeting that “I was grateful to have the opportunity to speak with him about the responsibilities that we all share to care for the least of these, the poor, the excluded,” and according to CNN Politics, “And I was extremely moved by his insights about the importance of us all having a moral perspective on world problems and not simply thinking in terms of our own narrow self-interests.”
The pope gave Obama two medallions and a copy of his apostolic exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel.” It has been reported that the private meeting between President Barack Obama and Pope Francis began at 10:27 a.m. and lasted until 11:19 a.m. Barack Obama held nearly an hour of private talks about the global situation with Pope Francis.
“Views were exchanged on some current international themes and it was hoped that, in areas of conflict, there would be respect for humanitarian and international law and a negotiated solution between the parties involved,” according to a brief Vatican statement.
According to The Wall Street Journal, at a news conference later with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, President Obama stated that, “The theme that stitched our conversation together was a belief that in politics and in life, the quality of empathy, the ability to stand in somebody else’s shoes and to care for someone even if they don’t look like you or talk like you or share your philosophy, that that’s critical.”
American church leaders are hoping that the pope will visit the U.S. in the fall 2015 for a world meeting on families to be held in Philadelphia, Pa.
Image credit: www.nymag.comPresident Barack Obama and Pope Francis Met for the First Time by Jaan