White House: Obama to meet Pope Francis in 'near future'

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama is looking forward to meeting Pope Francis in the near future, the White House said on Tuesday, saying Obama is paying close attention to the pope's work on addressing inequality.

"I do not have any more details for you on that - timing or location - except to say that the president very much looks forward to a meeting," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at a briefing.
Obama quoted the pope in a December speech in which the president pledged to devote the rest of his time in office to addressing the gap between rich and poor in the United States.
"I think that you can take from that that the president is certainly aware of and paying attention to the work being done by the pope and the Vatican," Carney said.
Secretary of State John Kerry met with the pope's top aide, Secretary of State Archbishop Pietro Parolin, on Tuesday to discuss Middle East peace efforts. Following the meeting, Kerry told reporters that Obama would visit the Vatican.