- John L. Allen Jr.
- May 27, 2017
Some forty-eight hours ago, a meeting between Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump made global headlines. On Friday, Francis received the heads of state of two Balkan nations, Bulgaria and Macedonia, and almost no one noticed. Yet from the pontiff’s point of view, there’s good reason to think these sessions were every bit as important.
Despite expectations that the meeting between Pope Francis and President Donald Trump on Wednesday would be contentious, it proved surprisingly upbeat. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York predicts the two leaders may collaborate, among other things on anti-Christian persecution, and says he’s already suggested one way the White House could do that in terms of funding relief efforts.
Although one half-hour encounter can’t magically dissolve all the potential flash points in the relationship between the Vatican under Pope Francis and the White House under President Donald Trump, it still seems Trump got more than he could have expected out of Wednesday’s encounter, including a Vatican statement that played up areas in which the president and the pope are on the same page.
First lady Melania Trump told the children of the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital to “Stay strong and positive” during a visit after President Donald Trump’s and her meeting with Pope Francis. Meanwhile, first daughter Ivanka Trump praised the “strength, faith, and perseverance” of human trafficking victims during a visit to a Rome-based center which works with refugees.
Pope Francis and President Donald Trump had a “cordial” talk Wednesday morning, according to a Vatican statement, which said they focused on areas of agreement including a “joint commitment in favor of life, and freedom of worship and conscience.”
As they eagerly await the outcome of the momentous meeting between Pope Francis and President Trump at the Vatican, Millennial students from Assumption College stood in the square trying to predict the issues discussed and whether the pope’s ideas and concerns could rub off on the U.S. president.