Obama Meets Pope, Gives Him Seeds
President tells Francis, 'I'm a great admirer'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 27, 2014 6:49 AM CDT
Updated Mar 27, 2014 7:47 AM CDT
President Barack Obama meets with Pope Francis, Thursday, March 27, 2014 at the Vatican.   (Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(Newser) – President Obama called himself a "great admirer" of Pope Francis as he sat down at the Vatican today with the pontiff he considers a kindred spirit on issues of economic inequality. Their historic nearly hourlong first meeting comes as Obama's administration and the church remain deeply split on issues of abortion and contraception. Obama arrived at the Vatican amid the pomp and tradition of the Catholic Church, making his way to greet the pope after a long, slow procession through the hallways of the Apostolic Palace led by colorful Swiss Guards and accompanied by ceremonial attendants. The president bowed as he shook hands with the pontiff in the Small Throne Room, before the two sat down at a wooden table in the Papal Library. "It is a great honor. I'm a great admirer," a broadly grinning Obama said. "Thank you so much for receiving me."

The two were scheduled to meet for a half-hour, but their private discussion lasted 52 minutes. Obama seem buoyed by the meeting as they emerged and the pope greeted a handful of Obama's senior advisers. Secretary of State John Kerry pronounced himself "a great admirer of everything you've been doing, as a Catholic, for the church." Obama then presented the pope with a seed chest with fruit and vegetable seeds used in the White House Garden, in honor of the pope's announcement earlier this year that he's opening the gardens of the papal summer residence to the public. The chest was custom-made of leather and reclaimed wood from the Baltimore Basilica, one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals in the US, and inscribed with the date of their meeting. But the relationship between the Obama administration and the Catholic Church remains a fraught one: Vatican officials say Obama will not have left without having heard Francis' views on Obama's health care law and its mandates for contraception coverage.

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Mar 30, 2014 10:42 AM CDT
Swine eaters
Mar 29, 2014 12:09 AM CDT
This shows how radical republicanism is out of control when it crosses an ocean and starts to pounce on the Pope. The Pope! The most holy man on earth and he isn't even a republican or democrat for Christ sake. Will you people look at yourself! You should be ashamed. You have turned into dogs attacking anything with views opposite yours. You believe you are more informed than the Pope?
Mar 28, 2014 8:11 AM CDT
NOW I WILL PRAY WITH THE POPE.. THAT THIS WILL ALL COME TO PAST!! PERIOD!! The REP take control in Nov 2014,repeal Obamacare , give us less taxes, fix the debt, & GET BACK RESPECT & CREDIBILITY TO THE USA ! & a better way with foreign polices!! Then in Nov 2016 Gov. Christie will be prez!!!! and everything will be AOK in the USA on Jan 20, 2017!! THERE YA GO!!