By Carol Glatz
U.S. President Barack Obama arriving at the Vatican July 10, 2009, when he met Pope Benedict XVI. (CNS photo/Dario Pignatelli, Reuters)
VATICAN CITY — With tomorrow’s encounter between Pope Francis and Barack Obama, there will have been 28 U.S. presidential-papal meetings either in the Vatican or in the United States over the past 100 years.
On his blog, Luis Badilla gave a great run-down [click link or see below] of every encounter starting in 1919 between Woodrow Wilson and Pope Benedict XV. A total of 11 presidential-papal meetings took place before the United States and the Vatican finally established formal diplomatic ties exactly 30 years ago.
Tomorrow will be Obama’s second visit to the Vatican since his meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, but it will be his first meeting with Pope Francis.
Sister Mary Ann Walsh of the USCCB has a commentary here about US-Vatican relations and tomorrow’s visit. Here’s a snippet:
Francis will have the opportunity to touch the heart of President Obama. President Obama will have the opportunity to advise the leading churchman of what the Land of the Free can do to improve life for many more of humankind.
Both pope and president have high hopes for the meeting, and given the will that exists, something good can come from it. It’s worth a prayer.
Swiss Guards and Vatican officials accompanying U.S. President Barack Obama when he arrived at the Vatican July 10, 2009. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
John Carr, the former secretary of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the USCCB and now director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University, has his analysis of what might transpire during tomorrow’s historic meeting, which, he says:
…will be full of symbolism and substance—and contrasts: a young president growing older and more frustrated and an old pope who seems to be growing younger and more empowered. The pope and the president could have a unique discussion on how to keep “hope and change” alive in their demanding offices amid challenging times.
Here’s Badilla’s list:
Of the 28 meetings between popes and U.S. presidents, 21 were held at the Vatican, 1 at the papal summer residence (Read More)