News

Obama to meet with Pope Francis in March

Obama to meet with Pope Francis in March

PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: Obama, seen here during a Jan. 17 address, plans to discuss poverty issues with Pope Francis. Photo: Associated Press/Charles Dharapak

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama plans to visit with Pope Francis at the Vatican in March during a trip to Europe, the White House said on Tuesday.

Obama is scheduled to meet with the pope on March 27 in a trip that will include stops in the Netherlands, Belgium and other parts of Italy, it said in a statement.

It will be the first meeting between the two men, who share a focus on addressing the gap between rich and poor.

“The president looks forward to discussing with Pope Francis their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality,” the White House said.

Pope Francis, who took the helm of the Roman Catholic Church in March 2013, has led an effort to simplify the church and focus on the needy. Known for being frugal, he has appealed to people to help the poor, offered to drive his own car and chosen cardinals to emphasize his concern for poorer nations.

In December, Obama quoted the pope in a speech and pledged to focus his final term in office to tackling the growing gap between rich and poor in the United States.

The trip also marks Obama first official visit to two European Union bodies – the European Council and the European Commission – the White House added. He will be in Brussels on March 26 to meet with presidents of the two institutions.

In the Netherlands, Obama will attend the Nuclear Security Summit to discuss progress in securing nuclear materials and efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism with other world leaders, the statement said.

The president will also meet with Italian leaders in Rome, it said.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey, Mark Felsenthal and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

This week’s best sports shots

llws

Some of the best plays and biggest newsmakers from the week in sports.

in National

Making headlines this week

AP_568873619964

A look back at some of this week's biggest newsmakers and the headlines you may have missed.

in National

How low will gas go?

19-overlay12

AAA predicts gas prices could drop below $2 a gallon by the end of the year.

in National

Buzz Aldrin wants to colonize Mars

12-overlay17

The second man to walk on the moon is pushing for a Mars settlement by 2040.

in National

U.S. vaccination rates high, but pockets of unvaccinated pose risk

vaccine

The vast majority of U.S. kindergarten-age children are vaccinated against preventable diseases but sizable pockets of unprotected children still exist, posing a public health threat, according to a government study.