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President Barack Obama had his first audience with Pope Francis Thursday at the Vatican. The visit is seen as an attempt to strengthen the relationship between the White House and the Catholic Church. President Obama and Pope Francis are expected to speak about shared causes, such as income inequality, but also delve into their disagreements on abortion, contraception and same-sex marriage.
With his visit to Vatican City, Mr. Obama continues the tradition of presidential meetings with the pope that began with the 28th president of the United States.
Here is a history of U.S. presidential visits to the Vatican:
Photos via Library of Congress
Photo by Paul Schutzer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Photo by White House
Photo via U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
President Richard Nixon visits the Vatican in 1970. Photo via U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Photo by Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty Images
Photo by Keystone/Getty Images
President Ronald Reagan visits Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1982. Photo via Reagan Library
President George H.W. Bush visits Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1991. Photo by White House
Photo by Vatican Pool/Getty Images
President George W. Bush awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Pope John Paul II. White House photo by Eric Draper
Photo by Giancarlo Giuliani-Vatican Pool/Getty Images
White House photo by Pete Souza
The pope has also met with the presidents several times in the United States:
Photo by Bill Fitzpatrick/White House/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
White House photo by Eric Draper
Photo via Ronald Reagan Library
President Bill Clinton with Pope John Paul II in Denver, Colo. Photo via Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States
Rachel Wellford is a general assignment producer for PBS NewsHour.
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