Obama administration says visit ‘chance to continue engagement’ with pope

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September 20, 2015

Pope Francis greets journalists aboard his flight from Rome to Havana Sept. 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-CUBA-ARRIVE Sept. 19, 2015.

Pope Francis greets journalists aboard his flight from Rome to Havana Sept. 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Sept. 23 meeting between President Barack Obama and Pope Francis will likely continue the dialogue these two leaders began in a 2014 meeting at the Vatican and will likely lead to further action on ideas the two leaders share, said White House officials in a telephone briefing with reporters Sept. 17.

“We see this as an opportunity to continue our engagement with Pope Francis and the Vatican, but also to receive the visit of a leader who is incredibly important to many Americans and many people around the world,” said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser.

Rhodes said the two leaders are likely to discuss issues they share and maybe even some they disagree on. “When it comes to the policies of our administration and the priorities that the president sets, there are a whole host of issues where there is much common ground with the mission of the Vatican, and there have been issues where there have been differences as it relates to other issues. So that’s just the nature of this relationship.”

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