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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Popes, Presidents and First Ladies

(Public Domain)
For 52 minutes today, Pope Francis and President Obama set aside some differences in order to focus upon some commonalities.

NBC News reports that the two met face-to-face in the papal library of the Vatican.  Francis greeted Obama with "Welcome, Mr. President," and Obama replied: "Thank you… I'm a great

This is not the first pope that Obama has visited.  He spent some time with Pope Benedict XVI in 2009. 

Neither is Obama the first POTUS to visit with a pope.  Presidents and first ladies of the United States have been doing so for decades.

Wikipedia explains that Woodrow Wilson was the first POTUS to officially have such a meeting.  He and Pope Benedict XV met at the Vatican in 1919.

In 1965, Pope Paul VI became the first reigning pope to visit the United States.  He met with President Johnson in New York City (and had met with Catholic President Kennedy at the Vatican in 1963).

Pope John Paul II later became the first reigning pope to visit with a president at the White House.  He and Jimmy Carter met there in 1979.

Although first ladies have met with popes while accompanied by their husbands (see photo of Nancy and Ronald Reagan with Pope John Paul II in 1982), Jacqueline Kennedy may have been the only reigning first lady to have independently met with a pope.  She did so with Pope John XXIII in 1962.  



Copyright March 27, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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