White House: Obama and Pope Francis Will Meet

Posted: Jan 15, 2014 7:45 AM

The details are TBD. But the White House did announce on Tuesday that the president is planning on meeting the Holy Father "at some point in the near future":

The White House said Tuesday that President Barack Obama is planning to meet Pope Francis, but did not say when or where the meeting might take place.

“The president very much looks forward to meeting Pope Francis at some point in the near future but we don’t have any specific travel to announce today,” a National Security Council spokesperson told TIME.

The comments came on the same day Secretary of State John Kerry met with a top official at the Vatican. In remarks after that meeting, Kerry stressed “the common interest of Pope Francis and President Obama in addressing poverty and extreme poverty on a global basis.”

“The Holy Father is anticipating the visit of President Obama here, and the president is looking forward to coming here to meet with him,” Kerry added. “So much was agreed on as a mutual agenda this morning, and I’m particularly pleased to know that the Holy Father… will continue to speak out about peace in the Middle East.”

One of the privileges of serving as president, no doubt, is being able to meet the Bishop of Rome. But what will they talk about? Allahpundit snickered that the HHS mandate and Obama’s vote against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act will be topics presumably left off the table. So that leaves income inequality, or perhaps the failures of trickle-down economics? Evidently, the president is “hugely impressed” with Pope Francis as a religious leader; it’s seemingly only the Church -- and its moral teachings -- that he disdains. No matter. Pope Francis is one of the few world leaders that is genuinely popular across the board, so this historic meeting -- wherever it’s held -- is bound to bring him some favorable press. And he could use some right about now.

Perhaps that's why he waited so long to finally meet him.

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