President Barack Obama and Pope Francis met at the Vatican on Thursday. Obama said that he is a great admirer of Pope Francis as he considers the Pope to be a kindred spirit on issues of economic inequality. The meeting between the two lasted about an hour, according to a Yahoo! News report on Thursday.
It is known that the church and President Obama are divided on some issues, such as contraception and abortion.
President Obama arrived at the Vatican was greeted by the traditions of the Catholic Church which involved a long, slow procession through the halls of the Apostolic Palace with Swiss Guards fronting the procession.
Reportedly, President Obama bowed as he met Pope Francis in the Small Throne Room. Then they sat in the Papal Library at a wooden table for their historic first meeting.
Obama told the Pope that it was a great honor to meet him and that he is a great admirer of his. He said, “Thank you so much for receiving me.”
Following the 52 minute meeting, some of the president’s senior advisers were allowed to greet the Pope. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was present and told the Pope that, as a Catholic, he is a great admirer of everything he has been doing for the church.
President Obama gave the pope a seed chest with fruit and vegetable seeds used in the White House Garden. It was presented in honor of Pope Francis’ previous announcement regarding the gardens of the papal summer residence that will be open to the public. The chest was inscribed with the date of the historic meeting. Obama is the ninth president to visit the Vatican.
Obama is on a four-country trip designed to secure European unity against Russia’s movements into Ukraine.