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 Local

Member of Jesse White Tumblers Shot

Murdered Chicago teen a member of Jesse White Tumblers.

in Local

Durbin Weighs In on Senate Proposal to Revoke NFL Non-Profit Status

dickdurbin1

Dick Durbin says he's still deciding on the U.S. Senate proposal that would revoke the NFL's non-profit designation.

in Local

Rauner Tells GOP Not to Expect Favors if He is Elected

Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate businessman Bruce Rauner participates in a Republican gubernatorial candidate debate Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Springfield, Ill. The four Republican gubernatorial candidates said that they’ll be willing to work with unions if elected but differed on how to approach the relationship during a downstate debate that largely focused on pension reform, taxes and just briefly on personal issues that have dogged some of the candidates.

Republican candidate for Illinois governor Bruce Rauner says he won't offer any patronage jobs to GOP members if he wins.

in Local

Illinois Awards $25.8M in Health Outreach Grants

Health

Most of the same Illinois organizations that helped consumers sign up for insurance in the first year of the Affordable Care Act will receive additional funding for a second year.

in Local

Quinn: No Point in Plan B for Pension Overhaul

pension

Amid signals that Illinois' pension overhaul could be found unconstitutional, Gov. Pat Quinn argued Friday that it makes no sense to develop a contingency plan.