Catholic World News

President Obama reflects on meeting with Pope Francis

April 15, 2014

In remarks delivered at the annual White House Easter prayer breakfast, President Barack Obama reflected on his recent meeting with Pope Francis.

After lamenting the murder of three people at a Kansas Jewish community center, the president said that “we’re also overwhelmed by the grace of an awesome God. We’re reminded how He loves us, so deeply, that He gave his only begotten Son so that we might live through Him. And in these Holy Days, we recall all that Jesus endured for us -- the scorn of the crowds and the pain of the crucifixion, in our Christian religious tradition we celebrate the glory of the Resurrection -- all so that we might be forgiven of our sins and granted everlasting life.”

“I think it’s fair to say that those of us of the Christian faith, regardless of our denomination, have been touched and moved by Pope Francis,” President Obama continued. “Now, some of it is his words -- his message of justice and inclusion, especially for the poor and the outcast. He implores us to see the inherent dignity in each human being. But it’s also his deeds, simple yet profound -- hugging the homeless man, and washing the feet of somebody who normally ordinary folks would just pass by on the street. He reminds us that all of us, no matter what our station, have an obligation to live righteously, and that we all have an obligation to live humbly. Because that’s, in fact, the example that we profess to follow.”

The president added:

So I had a wonderful conversation with Pope Francis, mostly about the imperatives of addressing poverty and inequality. And I invited him to come to the United States, and I sincerely hope he will. When we exchanged gifts he gave me a copy of his inspiring writings, “The Joy of the Gospel.” And there is a passage that speaks to us today: “Christ’s resurrection,” he writes, “is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world.” And he adds, “Jesus did not rise in vain. May we never remain on the sidelines of this march of living hope!”

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  • Posted by: John3822 - Apr. 17, 2014 9:46 AM ET USA

    I am sorry, but the lambasting in the comments I see here serves no purpose... if the President had spoken ill of Pope Francis, you would have condemned him. When he praises him, rather than being gracious about it, apparently some only see an opportunity to highlight perceived hypocrisy. I would submit that this is not a Christian approach and rather than helping the pro-life cause, it actually hurts it. Since we are quoting Scripture, I call attention to 1Cor 10:31 - "Give no offense..".

  • Posted by: e3expert2751 - Apr. 16, 2014 2:58 AM ET USA

    Mark 7:6 But he answering, said to them: Well did Isaias prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

  • Posted by: Defender - Apr. 15, 2014 7:19 PM ET USA

    Notice he forgot to mention what he thought of the pope's gift - giving it Pelosi says a lot.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Apr. 15, 2014 4:26 PM ET USA

    "He implores us to see the inherent dignity in each human being." I'm glad Obama mentioned that. Of course, the searing contradiction between the pope's plea and Obama's support for the legalized slaughter of human beings in the womb comes immediately to mind. Just how much dignity does the president see in the millions he helps to kill by his policies and judicial appointments? If the pope does come to the Washington, I hope he directs Obama's attention to Matthew 7:16-23.

  • Posted by: normnuke - Apr. 15, 2014 1:33 PM ET USA

    So Obama's spinmeister manages to conclude his remarks with a return to the contention that the meeting was mostly about Obama's upcoming political positions on taking from the 'rich' to give to Democratic voters. No mention of his restrictions on religious liberty.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Apr. 15, 2014 9:31 AM ET USA

    Nice article. He has a good speech writer. It is very important to watch what the President does, not what he says.