Obama Looking for Kindred Spirit in Pope Francis

Published: 27th March 2014 11:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th March 2014 11:43 AM   |  A+A-

President Barack Obama meets Pope Francis on Thursday at the Vatican, perhaps seeking some reflected glory from a leader whose popularity is soaring one year into his pontificate.

Obama is the ninth president to make an official visit to the Vatican. His audience with the pope marks a change of pace for Obama in his weeklong, four-country trip to secure European unity against Russia's aggressive posture toward Ukraine.

Obama visited Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, a cordial meeting that nevertheless drew attention to the differences between the church and Obama on abortion. The White House sees Francis' emphasis on economic disparity as a form of moral validation of the president's economic agenda.

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