President Obama and Pope Francis are set to meet for the first time on March 27 during the President's diplomatic trip to Europe. The meeting comes just after the pope's first anniversary as head of the Catholic Church.
President Obama, the most viral president in U.S. history, is reportedly "hugely impressed" with Pope Francis—the most viral pontiff since Clement VI reigned during the time of the Black Death. In a statement, Press Secretary Jay Carney said, "The president looks forward to discussing with Pope Francis their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality." Back in December, in a speech addressing income inequality, the president quoted Francis directly.
Still while the two of them share a perspective on economic equality, they also diverge substantially on subjects such as abortion and access to birth control, as well as homosexuality, where the Pope's view is softer than his predecessors' but still conservative. When John Kerry met with his Vatican counterpart a few weeks ago, Cardinal-designate Pietro Parolin "touched on the birth control issue but did not make it a focus of the 90-minute discussions." (Kerry hinted at the President's trip last week.)
President Obama was last in Vatican City in 2009, where he met Pope Benedict, who was the first pope to resign in centuries.