During his recent European trip United States President Barack Obama made a stop at the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis. The encounter occurred as President Obama sought strategic responses to Russia's invasion of Crimea.
It was the first such meeting between the President and the Pontiff.
During the 50-minute meeting, The Vatican Press Office reports the two world leaders discussed issues ranging from income inequality, the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection, the eradication of human trafficking, as well as the issue of immigration reform.
According to a statement released by the Vatican, Pope Francis and Obama also had an "exchange of views on some current international themes, and it was hoped that in areas of conflict, there would be respect for humanitarian and international law and a negotiated solution between the parties involved."
While President Obama and Pope Francis exchanged views, The Catholic Association notes the Obama Administration is fighting against the Catholic Church in the largest religious liberty lawsuit ever.
“Today’s meeting comes at a time when the Obama Administration is battling the Catholic Church in the U.S. over her right to be Catholic – fighting all the way to the Supreme Court to force people of faith, including nuns who care for the poor, to violate Church teaching or face massive government fines,” said Maureen Ferguson, Senior Policy Advisor for The Catholic Association. “We hope the takeaway from today’s meeting is not a photo-op used to promote the President’s partisan domestic agenda, but an opportunity to reset what the Vatican called a ‘complex phase of the administration's relations of the Church of the United States, marked, in particular, by controversy on the implementation of health care reform having to do with the rules on mandatory health care coverage of sterilization, contraception, and abortion.”
Obama is the ninth president to make an official visit to the Vatican.