Tags: Obama

Obama, Francis Have Cordial Meeting Despite Sharp Divisions

Image: Obama, Francis Have Cordial Meeting Despite Sharp Divisions

Thursday, 27 Mar 2014 03:20 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
President Barack Obama heard the Catholic Church's concerns over his health care plan while on a visit to the Vatican on Thursday, but drew a cheerful response from Pope Francis when inviting him to visit Washington.

The president appeared at ease and joked during the parts of his meeting with the pope that were open to a few reporters, but a brief Vatican statement issued later indicated that Obama's private talks there had a more serious side.

The statement said Obama, who was accompanied by Secretary of State John Kerry, was told of the Vatican's concern about "the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection" in the United States.

This was a reference to the mandate in Obama's controversial health care plan which requires employers to cover the cost of contraception in insurance plans.

Francis: Pope’s Hidden Life Revealed.

Catholics and members of other religions say the mandate, which is the subject of more than 100 law suits across the United States, is a violation of their beliefs because it forces them to support contraception and sterilization.

Obama later told a news conference in answer to a question that the pope "did not touch in detail" on the health care act but that it was discussed more in a separate meeting with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

"I pledged to continue to dialogue with the U.S. Conference of (Catholic) Bishops to make sure that we can strike the right balance," Obama said.

He acknowledged that there were differences of opinion between himself and the pope on a number of issues but said the pontiff could be an inspiration to politicians.

"His job is a little more elevated. We're down on the ground dealing with the often profane, and he's dealing with higher powers. I do think that there is a potential convergence between what policymakers need to be thinking about and what he's talking about," he said.

The Vatican statement said the topics discuss included "current areas of conflict, which Vatican officials said was a reference to Ukraine and Syria.

Obama said the major domestic issue he discussed with the Pope himself was his drive to get immigration reform approved in Congress. They also discussed poverty, inequality and conflicts in the world.

When he entered the Vatican, Obama walked past the frescoed halls of the Apostolic Palace to the entrance of Francis' private library.

"It is a great honor. I'm a great admirer," the president said as the pope greeted him and they sat at the pontiff's desk. "Thank you so much for receiving me."

Obama invited the pope to visit the White House and gave Francis a symbolic gift of seeds of fruit and vegetables from the garden of the presidential residence.

"If you have a chance, you can come to the White House and you can see the garden," Obama told Francis as he was explaining the gift to him.

The Pope, responding in Spanish, said "Como no?" (For Sure!)

In all, Obama spent nearly two hours in the Vatican, nearly half of it in private talks with the pope. He held a separate meeting with Cardinal Parolin.

Francis: Pope’s Hidden Life Revealed.

The pope gave Obama two commemorative medals and a red leather-bound copy of Evangeli Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospels), a document Francis wrote last year which is seen as the road map for his papacy.

"You know, I will probably read this in the Oval Office when I am deeply frustrated and I am sure that it will give me strength and calm me down," Obama said. The pope responded in English: "I hope".

Francis has turned his back on much of the traditional formality of the Vatican but he deployed the full weight of state ceremonial, welcoming Obama outside the official library, which he now uses only to receive visiting dignitaries.

The pope has given up the spacious papal apartments for more modest quarters in a Vatican guest house.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

US Asks NKorea to Release Americans on Humanitarian Concerns

Monday, 01 Sep 2014 08:45 AM

The U.S. government on Monday requested that the North Korean government release three U.S. citizens currently detained  . . .

While Obama Ponders ISIS Action, UK's David Cameron Takes Charge

Monday, 01 Sep 2014 12:15 PM

While Great Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron cut his vacation short to deal with the Islamic State (ISIS) crisis,  . . .

Islamist Militia Now Guards US Embassy in Libya

Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 17:37 PM

An Islamist-allied militia group in control of Libya's capital now guards the U.S. Embassy and its residential compound, . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved