Obama Wants to Meet Pope Francis

The White House said the president is planning to meet the pontiff “in the near future”

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The White House said Tuesday that President Barack Obama is planning to meet Pope Francis, but did not say when or where the meeting might take place.

“The president very much looks forward to meeting Pope Francis at some point in the near future but we don’t have any specific travel to announce today,” a National Security Council spokesperson told TIME.

The comments came on the same day Secretary of State John Kerry met with a top official at the Vatican. In remarks after that meeting, Kerry stressed “the common interest of Pope Francis and President Obama in addressing poverty and extreme poverty on a global basis.”

“The Holy Father is anticipating the visit of President Obama here, and the president is looking forward to coming here to meet with him,” Kerry added. “So much was agreed on as a mutual agenda this morning, and I’m particularly pleased to know that the Holy Father… will continue to speak out about peace in the Middle East.”

-with reporting from Zeke J Miller