Thousands Await Pope Outside White House

Thousands of people either camped out all night or arrived outside the White House in this morning’s predawn hours in advance of the arrival of Pope Francis. Reuters reports on today’s events:

Pope Francis and President Barack Obama are set to hold private talks at the White House on Wednesday before the pontiff parades through streets of Washington on the first full day of his first visit to the United States. Francis and Obama see eye-to-eye on some issues like climate change and defense of the poor but are at odds over abortion and gay marriage. Still, the meeting is expected to be friendly, particularly given the pope’s role in mediating last year’s resumption of diplomatic ties between Washington and Cuba after a chill that lasted more than half a century. The 78-year-old Argentine pope closes out his day with a Mass at the one of the most important Roman Catholic churches in the United States, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. There, he will canonize 18th century Spanish missionary Friar Junipero Serra over the objections of critics who say that Serra suppressed Native American cultures in what is now California.

Tomorrow Pope Francis will address a joint session of Congress in the first-ever such papal event.