U.S. President Barack Obama and Pope Francis met for the first time Thursday at Vatican City, CNN reports.Every U.S. president since Dwight D. Eisenhower has had a formal audience with the pope.
According to the White House statement, the leaders will focus on "shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing (income) inequality" and gingerly navigate such thornier topics as same-sex marriage, contraception and abortion.
"In general, they'll be looking for areas of conversation where there is great agreement between the Vatican and the administration," said Steve Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America.
The meeting takes place two days after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on a contraception mandate included in the President's signature health care reform law.
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