As our colleague Scott Wilson writes, President Obama met with Pope Francis at the Vatican for a little less than an hour Thursday. The two men warmly greeted one another outside the Papal Library and continued inside for their meeting. Here are five photos from the much-anticipated meeting.
- President Obama, followed by Bishop Georg Ganswein, arrives at the Vatican for a private audience with Pope Francis, in Vatican City, March 27, 2014. (Max Rossi/Reuters)
Obama and Francis warmly greeted one another outside the Papal library.
"Wonderful meeting you, I’m a great admirer," Obama said. "Thank you sir, thank you."
The men continued into the Papal library, where they sat on opposite sides of Pope Francis's desk.
"Thank you," Obama said, "for receiving me."
- Pope Francis meets with President Obama on March 27, 2014 at the Vatican, March 27, 2014. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
The men exchanged gifts after the meeting. Obama gave Pope Francis a custom-made seed chest featuring fruit and vegetable seeds used in the White House garden. It is made of American leather and reclaimed wood from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, according to the White House. The Pope announced earlier this year he would open the garden in his summer residence to the public.
"These I think are carrots," Obama said, holding a pouch. "Each one has a different seed in it. The box is made from timber from the first cathedral to open in the United States in Baltimore."
Pope Francis gave Obama two medallions and a copy of his writing "The Joy of the Gospel." Obama said he would read it when he needs a boost. "I'm sure it will give me strength and calm me down," he said.
- Pope Francis and President Obama smile as they exchange gifts, at the Vatican Thursday, March 27, 2014. (Gabriel Bouys/AP, Pool)
Obama told Pope Francis he could visit the White House garden. Pope Francis responded in Spanish, "Como no," which translates to "why not?" Or "for sure."
Obama joked that he found the one person who has to put up with more officialdom.
"His Holiness is probably the only person in the world who has to put up with more protocol than me," Obama said.
- President Obama meets with Pope Francis, Thursday, March 27, 2014 at the Vatican. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)