(Deseret News) President Barack Obama will meet with dozens of world leaders this week in Europe, but few of those encounters will attract more popular interest than his first audience with Pope Francis on Thursday.
The presidential visit will be the 28th time a U.S. president has met the supreme pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, who is also head of state for Vatican City, according to a summary prepared by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that details the previous 27 events, including the first in 1919 by then-President Woodrow Wilson.
Don’t expect a major agreement to result, or a major argument to erupt for that matter, Vatican-watchers say. David Gibson of Religion News Service wrote, “American and Vatican officials say the talks may disappoint those hoping for fireworks, and that the summit is going to focus on collaboration much more than conflict. One reason is that the two men have a lot in common. Moreover, neither side wants to derail the chances for greater cooperation at a time of global volatility.” [more]