During his first audience with Pope Francis, Obama also invited his new friend to visit the U.S. next year.
“I bring greetings from my family,” the President said to the Pope as the meeting got underway. “The last time I came here to meet your predecessor I was able to bring my wife and children.”
The two exchanged gifts — the President presented Francis with a custom-made seed chest featuring a variety of fruit and vegetable seeds used in the White House’s garden, while Francis gifted Obama with an encyclical (a Catholic encyclopedia).
“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.
“I actually will probably read this in the Oval Office when I’m deeply frustrated. I’m sure it will give me strength and calm me down,” the president said of the encyclical.
The cordial meeting was thought to be a chance for Francis to bring up more serious issues, like the Affordable Care Act, which covers contraception and abortion, or the legalization of gay marriage in U.S. states.
But the meeting, anticipated by both men who have publicly said they admire each other, went off without much friction. To see more photographs of their Vatican meet up, click here.
SOURCE: USA Today | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty