Sep 23, 2015 10:09 AM by Cheryl Wengren
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is commending Pope Francis for "shaking us out of complacency" and giving people confidence to pursue a world that is more loving, just and free.
Obama was speaking at a crowded welcome ceremony for the pope on the South Lawn of the White House.
The president says the excitement surrounding the pope's visit must be attributed not only to his role as head of the Catholic Church, but also Francis' humility and generosity of spirit.
Obama is singling out the pope's call for focusing on the poor and the marginalized, including refugees fleeing war and immigrants in search of a better life. He's also highlighting the pope's call for protecting the planet and supporting communities vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
The president is thanking the pope for his support for efforts to normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba.