President Obama gifted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) with a rosary blessed by Pope Francis during a lunch between the top Democrats Tuesday at the White House.
“I was happy to receive a rosary blessed by Pope Francis,” Pelosi told reporters after the meal. “It meant a great deal to me.”
In an interview with CNN late last year, Pelosi joked Francis was “starting to sound like a nun.”
“His Holiness is obviously a very revered figure,” said Pelosi. “I was there for his inauguration. And I, being Catholic, believed that he was chosen Pope by the intercession of the Holy Spirit, so I pay attention to what he says. And I can tell you that there is great joy among Catholics and friends of Catholics as to [the] respect that his Holiness pays to all of God’s creation and members of the church and then beyond that. It’s really quite remarkable. It’s a source of joy to us all.”
Obama visited with Francis for about an hour last week at the Vatican. During a press conference later in Rome, Obama said that the pair spent the majority of their time discussing how to help the poor and prevent war. Obama said the discussion also touched on immigration reform — an issue the White House said was on the agenda for the Pelosi-Obama lunch.
"As someone who came from Latin America, I think he was very mindful of the plight of so many immigrants who are wonderful people working hard ... and yet they still live in the shadows," Obama said.
A Vatican statement on the issue suggested that the pope might have pushed Obama on social issues, including the birth control mandate in ObamaCare and abortion, where the church differs from Democrats.