US President: Pope Francis is a 'Transformative Leader'

Says Climate Change, Poverty and Persecution of Christians Will Most Likely Be Discussed During Apostolic Visit

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US President Barack Obama says that he expects that he will speak with Pope Francis issues ranging from climate change to persecition of Christians during his Apostolic Visit to the United States in September.

The Holy Father will be received at the White House by the President and First Lady Michelle Obama on September 23rd. The following day, he will address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress. This is the first time in U.S. history that a Supreme Pontiff will address the Congress.

On September 25th, the Pope will head to New York and address the General Assembly of the United Nations. He will conclude his visit in Philadelphia where he will attend the World Meeting of Families.

President Obama spoke on the Pope’s upcoming visit with the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Bureau Chief, Gerald F. Seib.

“I’ve had the honor of meeting him already once, an extraordinary individual, I think, a transformative leader, not just within the Catholic Church but globally,” Obama said.

When asked what he expects the Pope will tell him, the US President said that they will probably build upon issues discussed from their last meeting, including poverty and climate change.

“We’re going to talk about climate change, I’m sure, because he is very clear that part of the Church’s teachings and part of my faith is we have to be good stewards of this incredible planet that we have been given, and there are steps that can be taken there, and the vulnerabilities of the poorest of the poor when it comes to climate change if we don’t help deal with the issue,” he said.

Another issue Obama said that will most likely be discussed is war and the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

“You know, he is somebody who rightly, I think, expresses concerns about reducing conflict and reducing war, including in the Middle East, where Christians have been viciously attacked,” Obama noted.

President Obama said that the US government consults with the Church “very closely” on how to better protect religious minorities in war zones.

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Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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