Pope Francis to Meet With President Obama in March

The Vatican confirmed the papal meeting, which will come on the final leg of the president’s trip to Europe.

(photo: The White House)

VATICAN CITY — Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi has confirmed that, in March, President Barack Obama, during a European trip, will stop in Rome, where he is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis.

As the final part of President Obama’s visit to Europe — during which he will travel to the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy — the Pope and the president will meet on March 27, Father Lombardi said Jan. 21.

In a statement Tuesday by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, the White House announced that the president “looks forward to discussing with Pope Francis their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality.”

While in Rome, Obama will also meet with Italian president and prime minister.

Before coming to Italy, the president will go to the Netherlands, from March 24-25, where he “will participate in the Nuclear Security Summit,” Carney said, which is to be hosted by the Dutch government.

In addition to the summit, “where world leaders will highlight progress made to secure nuclear materials and commit to future steps to prevent nuclear terrorism,” Obama is slated to participate in other “bilateral events” with Dutch officials.

After the Netherlands, the president will continue on to Brussels, for a March 26 U.S. and European Union summit, with the presidents of both the European Council and the European Commission, which, Carney stated, “will be President Obama’s first visit to the E.U. institutions.”

While in Belgium, the president will also hold bilateral events with Belgian government officials and with the NATO secretary general.

Obama previously visited the Vatican on July 10, 2009, in order to meet with Pope Benedict XVI, as part of a July 8-10 meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized nations in the town of L’Aquila, east of Rome, that had been ravaged by an earthquake shortly before.

The White House has stated that there is no further information regarding Obama’s meetings at the moment, but that more “details will be provided at a later time.”