Pope Francis and President Barack Obama met for the first time today at Vatican City. The meeting between the two world leaders came with criticism from some members of the Vatican citing President Obama's stance on abortion and same-sex marriage.
In an interview with Polonia Christiana magazine, Vatican’s chief justice, Cardinal Raymond Burke said that Obama “promotes anti-life and anti-family policies.”
“It is true that the policies of the president of the United States have become progressively more hostile toward Christian civilization. He appears to be a totally secularized man who aggressively promotes anti-life and anti-family policies,” Burke told the magazine.
However, despite Obama's disapproval from the former archbishop of St. Louis, the President and Pope Francis met today, greeted each other with a smile and a handshake, and posed for pictures before sitting down across a table from each other.
It is believed that the two influential men will stay away from issues where they differ and stick to subjects where there is a common goal.
"In general, they'll be looking for areas of conversation where there is great agreement between the Vatican and the administration," said Steve Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America.
"The Pope will likely bring up immigration in a broad way ... and I do think there's a possibility the bishops' concerns about contraception in the (Affordable Care Act) might be mentioned," Schneck said.
Pontiff and presidential meetings are a long standing tradition. The first assembly took place January 4, 1919 between President Woodrow Wilson and Pope Benedict XV.