List of meetings between the pope and the president of the United States

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This is the list of meetings between the pope and the president of the United States. The first meeting between a pope and an incumbent U.S. president took place in the aftermath of World War I, January 1919, at the Vatican between Benedict XV and Woodrow Wilson. Altogether, there have been 30 meetings between six popes and 14 U.S. presidents over the past century.

Meetings[edit]

Date Site City Country President of the United States Pope Notes
January 4, 1919 Apostolic Palace[1] Rome Italy Woodrow Wilson Pope Benedict XV First meeting between the incumbent president of the United States and the reigning pope. Occurred during President Wilson's participation in the Paris Peace Conference, the first visit by a sitting U.S. president to Europe.
December 6, 1959 Vatican City[2] Dwight D. Eisenhower Pope John XXIII
July 2, 1963 Vatican City[3] John F. Kennedy Pope Paul VI First meeting between a Roman Catholic U.S. president and the head of the Catholic Church.
October 4, 1965 Waldorf Astoria New York New York City[4][5] United States Lyndon B. Johnson First papal visit to the United States, which also included an address to the United Nations and a visit to the Vatican Pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair.[6][7]
December 23, 1967 Vatican City[8] Unannounced stop during President Johnson's visit to Asia and Australia for Prime Minister Harold Holt's funeral.[7]
March 2, 1969 Vatican City[9] Richard Nixon
September 29, 1970 Vatican City[9]
June 3, 1975 Vatican City[10] Gerald Ford
October 6, 1979 White House[11] Washington, D.C.[12] United States Jimmy Carter Pope John Paul II First visit by a pope to the White House.
June 21, 1980 Vatican City[13]
June 7, 1982 Vatican City[14] Ronald Reagan
May 2, 1984 Fairbanks International Airport Fairbanks, Alaska[12] United States President Reagan was returning to the United States from a visit to China while Pope John Paul II was making a stopover on his way to South Korea, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Thailand.[15]
June 6, 1987 Vatican City[14]
September 10, 1987 Miami International Airport[16] and the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens[17] Miami, Florida[12] United States
May 27, 1989 Vatican City[18] George H. W. Bush
November 8, 1991 Vatican City[18]
August 12, 1993 Regis University[19] Denver, Colorado[12] United States Bill Clinton Both leaders addressed thousands of young students at World Youth Day.[20]
June 2, 1994 Vatican City[21]
October 4, 1995 Newark Liberty International Airport[22] Newark, New Jersey[12] United States
January 26, 1999 St. Louis Lambert International Airport[23] St. Louis, Missouri[12] United States
July 23, 2001 Palace of Castel Gandolfo[Note 1] Castel Gandolfo[24] Italy George W. Bush
May 28, 2002 Vatican City[24]
June 4, 2004 Vatican City[24] President Bush presented Pope John Paul II with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.[25]
June 9, 2007 Vatican City[24] Pope Benedict XVI
April 15–16, 2008 White House[11] Washington, D.C.[26][27] United States
June 13, 2008 Vatican City[24]
July 10, 2009 Vatican City[28][29][30][31] Barack Obama
March 27, 2014 Vatican City[32][33] Pope Francis
September 22–23, 2015 White House[11] Washington, D.C.[34][35] United States
May 24, 2017 Vatican City[36] Donald Trump Occurred during President Trump's visit to Israel, the West Bank, Italy, and Saudi Arabia.[37] The meeting proceeded amicably despite prior public disagreements between the two on environmental policy and Trump's proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall.[37][38]
October 29, 2021 Vatican City[39] Joe Biden Second meeting between a Roman Catholic U.S. president and the head of the Catholic Church. Occurred during President Biden's visit to Italy and the United Kingdom.

Gallery[edit]

Other meetings[edit]

Future popes meeting the president[edit]

Additionally, Eugenio Pacelli (the future Pope Pius XII) visited the United States for two weeks in October–November 1936 and met President Franklin D. Roosevelt at Hyde Park, New York on November 5, 1936.[40]

President George W. Bush attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II on April 8, 2005 and briefly met Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, who had led the Mass of Requiem.[41] Bush was the first incumbent U.S. president to attend a papal funeral.[42]

Future presidents meeting the pope[edit]

According to his sister Corinne, future President Theodore Roosevelt, aged 11, met Pope Pius IX in Rome and kissed his hand when the Roosevelt family was travelling in Europe.[43]

While Joe Biden was serving as a U.S. Senator, he met with Pope John Paul II on April 12, 1980 at the Vatican.[44] During Biden's tenure as Vice President of the United States, he met Pope Francis on three occasions. Biden led the U.S. delegation at the Papal inauguration of Pope Francis in March 2013; he accompanied the pope during the pontiff's visit to the United States in September 2015; and met him at a Vatican conference on cancer research in April 2016.[45][46]

Then-Vice President George H. W. Bush met Pope John Paul II on September 19, 1987 in Detroit. The pope was concluding a ten-day visit to the United States.[47]

First ladies meeting the pope[edit]

Jacqueline Kennedy was the first First Lady of the United States to meet with a pope independent of her husband, the president. On March 11, 1962, she met with Pope John XXIII at the Vatican while en route to India and Pakistan.[48]

Nancy Reagan met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican on May 4, 1985[49] while President Ronald Reagan was attending the 11th G7 summit in Bonn, West Germany.[50] Mrs. Reagan met the pontiff again on September 16, 1987 in Los Angeles[51] during his ten-day visit to the United States.

Laura Bush and her daughter Barbara Bush met Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on February 9, 2006. The First Lady was en route to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.[52]

Former presidents meeting the pope[edit]

After leaving office, former Presidents Martin Van Buren and Millard Fillmore met separately with Pope Pius IX in Rome in 1855. Pius IX also met Franklin Pierce in November 1857. In 1878, Ulysses S. Grant met Pope Leo XIII in the Vatican as part of his post-presidential world tour.[53]

In April 1910, Theodore Roosevelt sought an audience with Pope Pius X. The Pope agreed to see him, provided Roosevelt would not call on some Methodist missionaries in Rome. Roosevelt had no intention of meeting the missionaries, but he declined to submit to Pius X's conditions and the interview did not take place. Theodore Roosevelt called the entire papal episode, "An elegant row."[54]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Pursuant to the Lateran Treaty of 1929, the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo is Italian territory, but owned by the Holy See and equipped with extraterritoriality comparable to that of diplomatic missions.

References[edit]

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  3. ^ "Travels of President John F. Kennedy". U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian. Archived from the original on November 9, 2011.
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  6. ^ "The President's Daily Diary: October 4, 1965". Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum. Archived from the original on May 3, 2015.
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  8. ^ "Travels of President Lyndon B. Johnson". U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian. Archived from the original on December 18, 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Travels of President Richard M. Nixon". U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian. Archived from the original on November 9, 2011.
  10. ^ "Travels of President Gerald R. Ford". U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian. Archived from the original on November 9, 2011.
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  14. ^ a b "Travels of President Ronald Reagan". U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian. Archived from the original on November 9, 2011.
  15. ^ "Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for Pope John Paul II in Fairbanks, Alaska May 2, 1984". Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Archived from the original on August 4, 2011.
  16. ^ Walsh, Kenneth (March 27, 2014). "Ronald Reagan and John Paul II: A Primer on Papal Diplomacy". U.S. News & World Report. Archived from the original on June 5, 2019. President Ronald Reagan shakes hands with Pope John Paul II on Sept. 10, 1987, at Miami International Airport.
  17. ^ "Trip to Florida. Cuts of Remarks by President Reagan and Pope John Paul II. Vizcaya Museum". Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Archived from the original on May 20, 2022.
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  19. ^ "Regis Hosted a Landmark Meeting". Regis University.edu. n.d. Archived from the original on September 16, 2019. Retrieved September 16, 2019. On August 12, 1993, Regis University hosted a meeting and press conference with Pope John Paul II and President Bill Clinton at the Northwest Denver Campus.
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  22. ^ Baker, Al; Bell, Charles W. (October 5, 1995). "Pope arrives in Newark International Airport in 1995". Daily News. Archived from the original on September 15, 2019. The visit...began at Newark International Airport with 2,000 New Jersey parochial school students cheering him like a rock star and President Clinton hailing him as a model pilgrim of peace in a troubled world.
  23. ^ "Visit to St. Louis 99: Arrival Message". EWTN. January 26, 1999. Archived from the original on September 15, 2019. The Holy Father arrived at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, USA...where he was greeted by President William J. Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
  24. ^ a b c d e "Travels of President George W. Bush". U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian. Archived from the original on October 16, 2011.
  25. ^ Secretary of the Senate, United States Congress. "Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients". Senate.gov. Archived from the original on April 4, 2013. Retrieved March 17, 2013. June 4, 2004...Pope John Paul II
  26. ^ "Pope Benedict XVI - Apostolic Voyages outside Italy". Vatican.va. Archived from the original on March 6, 2013.
  27. ^ "Pope Benedict XVI - Apostolic Journey to the United States of America and visit to the United Nations Organization Headquarters (April 15–21, 2008)". Vatican.va. Archived from the original on March 3, 2013.
  28. ^ "Travels of President Barack Obama". U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian.
  29. ^ "Vatican, White House: Abortion one topic of Obama-Pope chat". CNN. July 10, 2009. Archived from the original on November 8, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2010.
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  31. ^ Wooden, Cindy (July 10, 2009). "Presidents and popes: Obama is 12th US president to visit Vatican". Catholic News Service. Archived from the original on July 7, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
  32. ^ Hanna, Jason; Liptak, Kevin (January 21, 2014). "Obama to visit Pope Francis in March". CNN. Archived from the original on January 22, 2014.
  33. ^ Abdullah, Halimah (March 27, 2014). "Obama, Pope Francis meet for first time". CNN. Archived from the original on March 28, 2014.
  34. ^ Ohlheiser, Abby; Boorstein, Michelle (September 22, 2015). "Pope Francis has arrived in the United States. Here's what to expect". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Waiting for Francis: President Obama, who rarely greets arriving foreign dignitaries on the runway.
  35. ^ Lee, Carol E.; McCain Nelson, Colleen; Rocca, Francis X. (September 23, 2015). "Pope Francis Takes On Climate Change, Religious Freedom and Other Big Issues". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. The day began with Mr. Obama welcoming the pope at the White House.
  36. ^ "Trump 'determined to pursue peace' after Pope meeting". BBC News. May 24, 2017. Archived from the original on May 7, 2019.
  37. ^ a b "Trump to pope after Vatican meeting: I 'won't forget what you said'". NBC News. Retrieved 2020-11-03.
  38. ^ "'He Is Something': Trump Visits Pope Francis At The Vatican". NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-11-03.
  39. ^ Neuman, Scott (October 29, 2021). "Biden, Pope Francis discuss climate change and global vaccine sharing". NPR.org. Archived from the original on October 31, 2021. President Biden, a devout Catholic who has nonetheless found himself at odds with many faithful over his support of abortion rights, met Friday at the Vatican with Pope Francis, where the leaders discussed climate change, the coronavirus pandemic and global poverty.
  40. ^ "Pacelli Lunches With Roosevelt", The New York Times, p. 1, November 6, 1936
  41. ^ Assaf, Andrea Kirk (June 10, 2007). "Bush and Benedict: First Meeting". Inside the Vatican. Archived from the original on April 13, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
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  43. ^ Robinson, Corinne Roosevelt (1921). My brother, Theodore Roosevelt. Smithsonian Libraries. New York, C. Scribner's sons.
  44. ^ Graham, Kathleen M. (October 21, 2021). "Biden's first papal visit: Dialog article from 1980 describes then-senator's Vatican meeting with Pope John Paul II". thedialog.org. Archived from the original on March 27, 2022. A highlight of the trip came for Biden April 12 when he spent 45 minutes alone with Pope John Paul in the pontiff's private library at the Vatican.
  45. ^ Memoli, Mike (October 28, 2021). "For Biden, a meeting with Pope Francis is both personal and political". www.nbcnews.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2022.
  46. ^ McElwee, Joshua J. (April 29, 2016). "At Vatican, Biden speaks of faith and calls for global coordination against cancer". www.ncronline.org. Archived from the original on March 27, 2022. Francis greeted the vice president after giving his own address, and the two leaders shook hands and smiled.
  47. ^ Schanche, Don A.; Secter, Bob (September 20, 1987). "The Papal Visit: Pope Urges U.S. to Ban Abortions: Departure Speech in Detroit Contains Warning, Praise". www.latimes.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2022. Speaking to Vice President George Bush and a farewell crowd amid tight security at Detroit Metropolitan Airport...
  48. ^ "Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years". Field Museum of Natural History. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  49. ^ "Address of Pope John Paul II to Mrs. Nancy Reagan, Wife of the President of the United States of America". www.vatican.va. May 4, 1985. Archived from the original on March 27, 2022.
  50. ^ Butturini, Paula (May 4, 1985). "Pope John Paul II gave Nancy Reagan his encouragement..." www.upi.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2022. The audience was the high point of the first lady's 46-hour visit to Italy. She was to have lunch with U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican William Wilson and his wife, Betty, and then fly back to Bonn, where President Reagan is attending the 11th annual economic summit.
  51. ^ "Nancy Reagan's Travels as First Lady". www.reaganlibrary.gov. n.d. Archived from the original on March 27, 2022. Meet with Pope John Paul II, and Schoolchildren, re: Anti-Drug Program.
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  54. ^ Durant, John and Alice Pictorial History of American Presidents A. S. Barnes and Company 1955 p. 216