It was a sunny morning in Washington, D.C. when Pope Francis arrived at the White House. He was greeted by President Obama and his wife, Michelle.
The President smiled and cheerfully welcomed the Pope to the White House. In his remarks, he praised the Pope for his example and the Catholic Church for its contributions to American society.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
"I believe the excitement around your visit, Holy Father, must be attributed not only to your role as Pope but to your unique qualities as a person. In your humility, your embrace of simplicity, the gentleness of your words, and the generosity of your spirit, we see a living example of Jesus' teachings. A leader whose moral authority comes not just through words but also through deeds.”
The Pope praised the United States as a nation built by immigrants, and said he would encourage members of Congress to adhere to its original ideals.
He brought up issues that he aligns with the president on, like climate change and re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba.
"Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation.”
"The efforts which were recently made to mend broken relationships and to open new doors to cooperation within our human family represent positive steps along the path of reconciliation, justice and freedom.”
He also said that he believed it was important "to celebrate and support the institutions of marriage and the family.” He added that American Catholics hope to live in a just society.
"With countless other people of good will, they are likewise concerned that efforts to build a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty. That freedom remains one of America’s most precious possessions.”
Afterward, Pope Francis and President Obama listened to a performance by a religious choir. They then entered the White House and reappeared on a balcony, waving to the crowd.
They held a private meeting in the Oval Office, where the Pope gave President Obama a World Meeting of Families medallion. He will speak at the gathering in just a few days.