Friday Links: Barack Obama and Pope Francis Discuss Global Issues


Screenshot from WSJDigitalNetwork

President Obama sits across from Pope Francis at the Papal Desk in order to discuss politics, social issues, and the modern world in general.

President Barack Obama visited Pope Francis on Thursday at the Vatican bearing a cinder box of seeds as a gift. This gift was inspired by the Pope’s decision to make the gardens at the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo open to the public. The Pope returned the favor by gifting President Obama two medallions and a copy of “The Joy of the Gospel”, a novel penned by the Pope that calls for a new era of organized religion and a more intent focus on the poor. The two men although having two very different policies, agreed heavily on many of the topics discussed and lightly treaded the topics that they disagree on, such as gay marriage, abortion, and immigration laws.

The meeting lasted less than an hour and consisted mostly of talk about the underprivileged, the wealthy, and the challenge of war in modern times. They discussed the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the unrest in Syria and Lebanon, and the persecution of Christians. Both men came to the conclusion that the current political and social issues of the world can be resolved with a simple act- empathy.

“…the ability to stand in somebody else’s shoes and to care for someone who even if they don’t look like you or talk like you or share your philosophy – that’s critical,” Obama said.

On the topic of the growing gap between the rich and poor, Obama said, “And it isn’t just an economic issue, it’s a moral issue. I think the Pope was speaking to the danger that over time we grow accustomed to this kind of inequality and accept it as normal. But we can’t.” He also stated that he believes that the Pope’s moral authority carries enormous weight, making their agreement on this issue all the more comforting to him.

It is President Obama’s role to create a solution to the problems discussed, while it is Pope Francis’s duty to bring the public’s attention to these issues. With this understanding, the two men departed from their first meeting with the goal of working together in order to better modern life.