President Obama, Pope Francis Meet for First Time

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 27 2014 10:33 AM

President Obama, Pope Francis Meet for First Time

Pope Francis speaks with President Obama during a private audience on March 27, 2014 at the Vatican

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama traveled to the Vatican today where he met face-to-face with Pope Francis for the first time. Here's the New York Times with the play-by-play from the (very) formal get-together:

Mr. Obama entered the Vatican just before 10:30 a.m., making his way through the center of Clementine Hall, a large anteroom. He proceeded past a dozen members of the Swiss Guard, standing at attention in their traditional purple and gold striped uniforms, designed originally by Michelangelo, with helmets that have bright red plumes. ...
The president and the pope talked among themselves while the delegations from the United States filled the room. One by one, they shook hands with the pope. Mr. Obama and Francis then stepped toward a table with the gifts on them.

The two men are said to have chatted about both their philosophical common ground (think: ending poverty) and ideological differences (think: contraception and gay marriage)—although likely largely focused on the former over the latter. There were also gifts: Obama gave the pope a custom-made seed chest made from reclaimed wood from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore and containing a variety of fruit and vegetable seeds from the White House garden. Francis, in turn, gave the president two medallions and a copy of Evangelii Gaudium (or “The Joy of the Gospel”), the pope's 47,000-word apostolic exhortation he released this past November.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 


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