News / Europe

Obama, Pope Francis to Meet in March

Pope Francis meets ambassadors to the Holy See, at the Vatican, Jan. 13, 2014.
Pope Francis meets ambassadors to the Holy See, at the Vatican, Jan. 13, 2014.
President Barack Obama will have an audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican on March 27. 

A White House announcement said the president looks forward to discussing their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality.   

Increasing inequality in the United States and globally has been a major issue for the president, and the focus of at least two major speeches since 2011.

In a speech in Washington, DC in December, he said the U.S. economy has become "profoundly unequal" with the economy doubling in size since 1979, but most income growth going to a fortunate few.

And he noted a remark by Pope Francis.

"This trend towards growing inequality is not unique to America’s market economy," he said. "Across the developed world, inequality has increased.  Some of you may have seen just last week, the pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length.  "How can it be, he wrote, that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"

Obama has commented on other remarks Pope Francis has made since he was elected pontiff last year.

On the issues of abortion, homosexuality and contraception, Pope Francis last year, in an interview with the Italian Jesuit journal, voiced frustration that the Church had "locked itself up in small things [and] small-minded rules."

In a CNBC interview last October, Obama said he was "hugely impressed" by the pontiff's remarks.

"He seems somebody who lives out the teaching of Christ, incredible humility, a incredible sense of empathy to the least of these, to the poor.  And he is also somebody who is I think first and foremost thinking about how to embrace people as opposed to push them away," he said.

In 2009, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visited the Vatican for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.

Obama's European trip will also include the Nuclear Security Summit being hosted by The Netherlands March 24 to 25.

The first was hosted by Obama in 2010.  The White House says leaders meeting in The Netherlands will highlight progress made to secure nuclear materials and commit to future steps to prevent nuclear terrorism.

Obama will also attend the U.S.-EU Summit in Brussels and meet with Belgian officials and the NATO secretary general.

In Italy, President Obama will meet with President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Enrico Letta.  

Obama and Prime Minister Letta held wide-ranging talks at the White House this past October, covering trade, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs