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Pope to Obama: This gift isn't from the 'Pope' but from Jorge Mario Bergoglio

2014-03-27

The US flag was already waving outside the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, when Barack Obama arrived in his black SUV. This marks his second visit to the Vatican, but his first meeting with Pope Francis.

"Wonderful meeting you. Thank you so much for receiving me.”  

After the official pictures were taken, they both headed to the Papal Library.

"Greetings from my family. The last time I came to meet your predecessor I could take my wife and children, but this time they were..."

Their meeting was longer than usual for Vatican standards. They spoke in private for about 50 minutes, while members of the US delegation waited in a nearby hall.

Later on, Barack Obama personally introduced each one of them to Pope Francis. His Secretary of State, John Kerry, was the first  in line.

"I'm so pleased to meet you. Great admirer. Everything you are doing, as a Catholic, for the Church, and for everyone...”

And then the gifts arrived. President Obama gave the Pope seeds from the White House gardens. He also promised to give more seeds to a charity in his honor.

"This, I think, are carrots”. 

"So, if you have the chance to come to the White House we will show you our gardens”. 

"Of course!”

Pope Francis gave him a copy of his first apostolic exhortation and something more personal. 

"This gift is from the Pope. But this other one is from Jorge Bergoglio.  When I saw it,  I said: "I'll give to Obama, it's the Angel of Peace.”

Often times, in these type of diplomatic meetings, gifts can be also be a way to portray a message. For example, when Obama went to the Vatican back in June 2009, Pope Benedict gave him a document titled "The Dignity of the Person,” that stood for the life of the unborn and the right to freedom of conscience. Obama then said he would read it carefully.

Before their meeting, the President of the United States said he wanted to talk to Pope Francis about fighting poverty and other issues they have in common. But it seems like they talked about much more than that. 

According to the Vatican they also discussed religious freedom, the right to life, and freedom of conscience, all of which have been major dividing points between the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops and the president's administration, under 'Obamacare.' Immigration and human trafficking were also discussed. 

Before saying good bye, Obama asked the Pope to pray for his wife and daughters. 


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