President Obama is “hugely impressed with the Pope’s pronouncements”

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In a CNBC interview on October 2, President Obama discussed Pope Francis’ recent public statements concerning the Catholic Church’s focus on gay marriage and women’s rights, in which the President said he is “hugely impressed.”

“I have been hugely impressed with the pope’s pronouncements,” said Obama. “He seems somebody who lives out the teachings of Christ. Incredible humility, incredible sense of empathy to the least of these, to the poor. He’s also somebody who’s, I think, first and foremost, thinking about how to embrace people as opposed to push them away. How to find what’s good in them as opposed to condemn them.”

In two interviews published within the last two weeks, Pope Francis has expressed his desire to move toward a truce as well as putting love and mercy above doctrine and judgment on issues like abortion, gay marriage and contraception. “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” said Pope Francis. “We have to find a new balance.”

Obama has been dealing with disagreement from the Roman Catholic bishops in the United States, who say the president is a threat to the church’s religious freedom. They are currently aiming to sue the Obama administration over the president’s health care law, as it requires Catholic colleges and hospitals to provide free birth control. This includes Plan B, also known as the morning-after pill, which bishops call “abortifacients.”

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