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U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Pope Francis (R) at the Vatican March 27, 2014. Obama's first meeting on Thursday with Pope Francis was expected to focus on the fight against poverty and skirt moral controversies over abortion and gay rights.    RE
President Obama met with Pope Francis at the Vatican today:
The two were scheduled to meet for just half an hour, but their private discussion lasted 52 minutes. At the end, they exchanged gifts, with the pope offering Obama two medallions and a copy of his apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel."

"You know, I actually will probably read this when I'm in the Oval Office, when I am deeply frustrated and I am sure it will give me strength and will calm me down," Obama said. [...]

Obama presented the pope with a seed chest with fruit and vegetable seeds used in the White House Garden, mentioning that he understands the pope is opening the gardens at the papal summer residence to the public. The chest was inscribed with the date of their meeting and custom-made of leather and reclaimed wood from the Baltimore Basilica — one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals in the U.S.

By all accounts the visit—that continues a tradition going back more than 50 years of U.S. presidents visiting the Pope—was pleasant and positive ... well, by almost all accounts.

For a read-out of the president's audience, see here.

Originally posted to Barbara Morrill on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 06:19 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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