A historic event is set to take place at the White House at the end of September. Pope Francis has officially accepted the invitation to meet President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House on the 23rd of September, in order to discuss a wide variety of global issues, ranging from environmental and poverty-related problems, all the way to immigration and freedom of religion.
Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary, detailed in a statement that President Obama and Pope Francis will discuss “caring for the marginalized and the poor; advancing economic opportunity for all; serving as good stewards of the environment; protecting religious minorities and promoting religious freedom around the world; and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities.”
The visit is announced to go down in history as being only the third of its kind ever to take place. The two other visits took place in 2008, when President Bush met with Pope Benedict XVI at the White House, and in 1979, when President Carter hosted a one-hour discussion in the Oval Office with Pope John Paul II.
Furthermore, Pope Francis also accepted the invitation given by John Boehner, Speaker of the White House, to make a joint address to Congress. This shall mark yet another historic happening, as it shall be the first time that a pope holds a speech at a joint meeting of Congress.
The last time the two world-renowned personalities met was last year, when they discussed relations between the Unites States of America and Cuba in the Vatican. It is said that their meeting at the White House will develop the subjects they spoke about during the Vatican meeting.
Many officials have expressed their delight regarding the visit of Pope Francis. Catholic House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi stated for CNN that “Pope Francis has renewed the faith of Catholics worldwide and inspired a new generation of people, regardless of their religious affiliation, to be instruments of peace.”
Moreover, the visit scheduled for September 23rd will be the first official papal visit for Pope Francis in the United States. Along with the meeting at the White House, the Pope shall be present in Philadelphia at the World Meeting of Families and in New York, in order to address the United Nations on the 25th of September.
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