Obama: Pope seems "a little bit uncomfortable" with papacy frills

In an interview with CBS News in Rome, President Obama called Pope Francis a "wonderful man" after meeting with the Roman Catholic leader for the first time.

Mr. Obama and Pope Francis spoke for about 45 minutes on Thursday. Asked what it was like to be in the presence of the pope by "CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley, Mr. Obama said Francis "projects the kind of humility and kindness that is consistent with my understanding, at least, of Jesus' teachings."

The president said he has admired the pope from afar since his election last year and that Francis seems to have a "good sense of humor."

Pelley added on "CTM" that the president acknowledged that he has differences with the pope - particularly over issues like contraception and same-sex marriage - but said he spent most of their meeting talking about things they had in common, particularly income disparity and the pope's message of helping lift the poor around the world.

Mr. Obama said, "His simplicity and his belief in the power of the spiritual over the material reflects itself in everything that he says and does. And I suspect, my sense is, is that he's a little bit uncomfortable with all the trappings of being pope."

Pelley asked, "Embarrassed by them?"

"That's not his style," Mr. Obama said. "And that is part of why I think he has been so embraced around the world. Because people get a sense that first and foremost he sees himself as a priest and as a disciple of Christ and as somebody who is concerned with, you know, 'the least of these.' And, you know, nothing's more powerful than someone who seems to live out their convictions."

  • Amanda Cochran

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