Pope Francis held a 50-minute private talk with President Obama Thursday, a time period that one Catholic news service called an “extraordinarily long time.”
The Pope reportedly wanted to discuss two major issues with the President, treatment of the poor and growing inequality around the world and also the increasing amount of military conflicts around the world.
The President was very generous in his praise of the Pontiff after the meeting.
“Those of us as politicians have the task of trying to come up with policies to address issues,” the President said, “but His Holiness has the capacity to open people’s eyes and make sure they’re seeing that this is an issue.”
The Pope reportedly did not directly discuss the Affordable Care Act, which is facing legal challenges to mandates that would force Christian business owners to pay for treatments that include abortion drugs. However, the Vatican’s Secretary of State reportedly took the President to task on issues of religious freedom in America.
The Pope gave the President a copy of his work The Joy of the Gospels. The President said he would probably read it in the Oval Office to which the Pope said “I hope.”
The President reportedly asked the Pope at the conclusion of the meeting to pray for him and his family.