Obama 'hugely impressed' with Pope Francis
October 2nd, 2013
05:35 PM ET
10 months ago

Obama 'hugely impressed' with Pope Francis

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama says he's a big fan of Pope Francis, calling the new pope a man who truly "lives out the teachings of Christ."

In an interview with CNBC Wednesday, Obama said he admired Francis's ability to think "about how to embrace people as opposed to push them away."

Obama was asked about Francis's statements arguing that the Catholic Church has the right to express its opinions but not to "interfere spiritually" in the lives of gays and lesbians, expanding on explosive comments he made in July about not judging homosexuals.

In a wide-ranging interview with Jesuit magazines published last month in several different languages and 16 countries, the pope also said that women must play a key role in church decisions and brushed off critics who say he should be more vocal about fighting abortion and gay marriage.

Moreover, if the church fails to find a "new balance" between its spiritual and political missions, the pope warned, its moral foundation will "fall like a house of cards."

When asked about those statements, Obama said "I have been hugely impressed," with the pope's pronouncements, not because of any specific issues but because of the humility and empathy with which Francis lives his life.

"That spirit, that sense of love and unity, seems to manifest itself, in, not just what he says, but also what he does," Obama said of Francis's embrace of all people.

"I would argue for any leader period that's a quality, that I admire."

–CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors Eric Marrapodi and Daniel Burke contributed to this report.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Next up: Krischun Nashun 'Murkin religio-fascists start calling Pope Francis a "PINO" because of his kind words and tone towards the LGBT community etc.

    Should be interesting...which is stronger....their blind, irrational hatred for Obama or their dogmatic adherence to conservative religious authoritarianism?

    October 2, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. GOP =Greed Over People

    "about how to embrace people as opposed to push them away."

    And I never heard him call those less fortunate, "welfare queens" or "anchor babies".

    October 2, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  3. Woman In California

    Now the "Christians" will hate Pope Francis.

    Stay tuned.

    October 2, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  4. Kelby in Houston Texas

    well, now you know the Republicans hate Pope Francis

    October 2, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  5. Tom

    Oh oh. If Obama likes Pope Francis, then Republicans have to hate him (I think it's in the RNC rule book - whatever Obama says, pound your fist on the table and demand the opposite). So now, Republicans will insist the U.S. attack the Vatican or they'll never allow the government to reopen.

    October 2, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. Ol' Yeller

    Long Live Pope Francis. I'm not Catholic. I'm not religious in any way. I do not believe in God. But I do know this man is good for the World. He is showing he knows how to walk the walk and not just talk the talk...
    Long Live Pope Francis.

    October 2, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Francis's statements arguing that the Catholic Church has the right to express its opinions but not to "interfere spiritually" in the lives of gays and lesbians, expanding on explosive comments he made in July about not judging homosexuals.
    -------------------------------------------------
    I wept when I heard the Pope say this.
    And I've started going back to church.
    He said exactly what I felt. How dare we push away people who are seeking spiritual solace in the sanctity of our church? Especially in light of the fact that we have to get our own house in order?
    Well said Pope Francis!
    It took the first spanish Pope to talk sense and be inclusive.

    October 2, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Pope Francis won me over with that statement.
    It is been looooong overdue that the Catholic church practice the inclusivity and Christian principles that it pays so much lip-service to.
    They'd lost me behind their treatment of Gays and derogatory sermons aimed at Gays.
    They've got me back.

    October 2, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  9. Larry in Houston

    "" President Barack Obama says he's a big fan of Pope Francis, calling the new pope a man who truly "lives out the teachings of Christ"""

    """Obama said he admired Francis's ability to think "about how to embrace people as opposed to push them away"""

    """Obama said of Francis's ""embrace of all people"""

    ALL People – Embrace People, instead of pushing them away – Lives out the teachings of WHO ? You mean the guy who walked on this earth about 2000 years ago ?? and Helped people ? Certainly he isn't talking about THAT Guy !!

    LOL -

    October 2, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. inCT

    "....explosive comments he made in July about not judging homosexuals." It is for GOD to do the judging; Christians do not judge. They love. They show Christ's (God's) love for man, one of His creations. The true Christians I know do NO judging, but lots of praying......

    Why are these considered "explosive" comments? If said by a true Christian, they aren't explosive at all, rather the truth. Why oh why do most progressive liberals think most Christians are judgmental and intolerant? Why is it that most progressive liberals are usually the judgmental and intolerant ones?

    Jesus spent very little time with "religious" people; most of His time was spent with the poor, the ill, and the folks who were living unpopular lifestyles. Read Luke, then Acts (possibly Paul's defense docs for his pending trial in Rome), and "judge" for yourself if these early Christians weren't loving and tolerant.

    October 2, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  11. Kay

    If he's so impressed by the Pope, then he should be more conscious in accurately relaying his message. Pope Francis has been saying the same things as his predecessors, the only difference is delivery: love the sinner, hate the sin. Look upon your homosexual brothers and sisters with compassion. Same with people who have had to face the difficult decision of having an abortion. Do not condemn them, but help them go back to the Church. But nothing in his past, nor current announcements say we should legalize abortion nor gay marriage. The Pope just wants the Church to move onto other things, such as expanding women's roles in the Church, and move on from things that the Church will never, ever change.

    The Pope has been remixing the same song, and Obama samples it to make a completely different tune. Nice way of appealing to your audience.

    October 2, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. Ponder This

    Wait for it.... wait for it..... The pseudo Christians will say that the Kenyan Muslim is a phoney Christian, trying to use Pope Francis for his own benefit. I'm betting that a post using these points is on the way.

    President Obama did attend St. Francis of Assissi Catholic School. Can it be.... OMG ... can it be that he's really a secret..................-Catholic?

    October 2, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  13. Wake up People!

    As if the Pope doesn't have enough people disliking him already, now the rest of them are going to chime in. I will admit I had lost all respect for the Catholic church due to them giving priests a free pass on their "behavior" but I'm liking Pope Francis.

    October 2, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  14. A Kickin' Donkey

    American evangelical "Christians" will have to wait in line behind men & women of this pope's example as they hope to enter the kingdom of God. They'd better hope to hit the ecumenical lottery.

    October 2, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  15. Marcus (from...?)

    Recently a well respected Italian intellectual, and proud atheist, published two editorials in an Italian newspaperwith two questions that he was making and aiming at the Pope Francis.
    Unlike ANY of his predecessors Pope Francis answered the questions made by an atheist and turn the whole position of the Catholic Church on questions like 'Does God love and welcomes in Paradise those who don't believe in Him?' upside down, and there is yet to say WHERE the official position of the Church will stay after that.
    In his half year as the face and voice of the Catholics all around the world, he has made clear that he believes in the way that Catholicism sees and practices the Christianism, but that he won't gonna judge others that have other faiths by any standard. 'Judge not, that ye be not judged' and all that, and he lives by it.

    October 2, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  16. vikingwoman

    Would it be possible to have the Pope come over here & talk some sense into the TEA Party (a.k.a the Taliban Extremists of America)!? It would be much appreciated, Thank You!!

    October 2, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  17. gahh

    I'm not Catholic either, but I think this man makes a lot of sense. The Republicans who claim to be Christian Conservatives, will have no use for Pope Francis, because he doesn't play God, and agree with them, when it comes to judging everybody else. These so called Christians, are nothing but liars, cheats, and 2 faced hypocrites. Keep up the good work Pope Francis. We need more people like you, in this world.

    October 2, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  18. Thomas

    He's the first Pope of the people in a long long time !

    Born again Christians hate the Pope , he understands history .

    October 2, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  19. jog4fun

    I think Obama should take an example from Pope Francis, in other words care for others!

    October 2, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  20. Winston Smith

    Let the right wing hate brigade start it's march. Bet it's not too long and we'll be hearing how the Pope, is destined for a place in hell. As if they have sole rights to heaven.

    October 2, 2013 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  21. Cephus

    Pope Francis should not be loved or hated just because he said something nearer or similar with the believe you hold. No one, Not the Pope, the President of the United States nor "we the people" have the write to add or subtract what is written in the HOLY BOOK (Bible), which is the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. We can all huff and puff about LOVE but no love transcends the love of your GOD and if you truly love him then you follow his laws or instructions there are written to save you before you condemn yourself eternally. They are just only two not three (a) Love your God with all your might! which means if you love him you hear and follow his commands. But if you love yourself first and him second then you are delusional and you can't fulfill the second (b) which is Love your neighbor. We have to stop this interpretations which reinforces our lunacies. The Pope, the President of the United States has every right to State their minds and so do we but we all don't have the right to abuse the HOLY BOOK to fit our crocked culture of manipulations, killings, abuse of power and self loath. No wonder they couldn't recognize the Son of God because they were obsessed with themselves and they couldn't see past the Son of Joseph.

    October 2, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  22. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    OH NO! How do we hate the gays and poor now that the Pope says not to? OOPS!

    October 3, 2013 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  23. ThinkAgain

    If you listen closely, you can hear Justice Scalia's head exploding...

    October 3, 2013 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  24. ThinkAgain

    It's nice to see the leader of a Christian denomination "get" it. I hope Pope Francis has a long and effective papacy.

    October 3, 2013 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  25. Cephus

    I surely agree with you!! "I would argue for any leader period that's a quality, that I admire." If every leader can be like the Pope the world would be a better place to live in a world without liberalism or conservatism a world of just people not just a people.

    October 3, 2013 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
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