The White House has hosted an unparalleled meeting between two of the world’s most powerful leaders in Washington D.C.
Pope Francis recently met with U.S. President Barack Obama, marking the first time in history that a Latin American religious leader met with a black U.S. president.
His Argentinian-born Holiness received a warm welcome in front of a crowd of 11,000 spectators.
The lawn was filled with the sound of military drumming and American Civil War-era fife fluting.
“Your Holiness you have been marked as the first Pope from the Americas. This is your first visit to the United States, and you are also the first pontiff to share an Encyclical through a Twitter account,” Obama joked in a televised speech.
“You remind us that our measure as individuals or as a society is not defined by wealth or power, or station or celebrity – but by how well we queue those scriptures to help the poor and the marginalised; to stand up for justice and against inequality – and to ensure that every human being is able to live in dignity, because we are all made in the image of God.”
The Pope reflected on his humble family background and took the opportunity to emphasise the importance of protecting freedoms.
“As the son of an immigrant family, I am happy to be a guest in this country which was largely built by such families,” he said.
“American Catholics are committed to building a society, which is truly tolerant but inclusive to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities and to reject every form of injustice, discrimination.”
During the visit, the two leaders spoke about caring for the marginalized and the poor; advancing economic opportunity for all; serving as good stewards of the environment; protecting religious minorities, promoting religious freedom around the world; and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into the community.
The Pope also visited New York and Philadelphia before returning to Rome, Italy.