After Pope Francis and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met privately for nearly an hour at the Vatican, Pence told the pope that his Roman Catholic mother will be pleased with the visit.
“Thank you, Your Holiness. You have made me a hero,” said Pence, who was raised Catholic but became an evangelical Christian.
The vice president, along with his wife Karen and daughter-in-law Sarah, arrived 10 minutes early for the meeting with the pope Jan. 24. They were welcomed by Msgr. Leonardo Sapienza, regent of the papal household.
As the pope and Pence sat down in the papal library of the Apostolic Palace, the vice president relayed greetings from U.S. President Donald Trump, who met with the pope in 2017.
“I wanted to extend the warmest greeting on behalf of President Donald Trump who so enjoyed his visit here,” Pence told the pope before reporters were ushered from the room.
After speaking with Pence for 59 minutes, with interpreters present, the pope greeted those accompanying the vice president on his visit, including Callista Gingrich, U.S. ambassador to the Holy See; her husband, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; and Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, Pence’s national security adviser.
Pence then presented the pope with a wooden cross “made from a tree at the vice president’s residence.”
“It was a great privilege to spend time with Pope Francis and to be able to do so on a day that literally hundreds of thousands of Americans, including many Catholic Americans, are gathered on our National Mall in Washington D.C. standing up for the right to life, was a particular joy for me,” Pence told EWTN News Jan. 24.
“And to hear his passion for the sanctity of life … It was a great privilege,” Pence added.
“I believe that the Church in the U.S. has been a bulwark in the right to life movement since Roe v Wade was first adopted by our Supreme Court in 1973,” the vice president said after his hour long meeting with the pope.
“In the US we see more young people everyday embracing the right to life. The numbers are growing and I know the Church is playing a critical role in that and I know will continue to until we reach that day that we restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law and will carry that message throughout the world,” he added.
…The vice president told EWTN News that Pope Francis spoke in their meeting of the great determination of the American bishops to see the Church in the United States stand without apology for the sanctity of human life. The pope has been meeting with groups of U.S. bishops since November, as they travel to Rome for their ad limina visits.