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What should Pope Francis and Obama discuss? JCPA has a suggestion

Pope Francis I speaking during a Mass in the Papal Basilica of St. Paul  in Vatican City, Vatican, April 2013. (Franco Origlia/Getty)

Pope Francis I speaking during a Mass in the Papal Basilica of St. Paul in Vatican City, April 2013. (Franco Origlia/Getty)

Everybody’s buzzing about the upcoming meeting between President Obama and Pope Francis.

But what should the leader of the free world and the leader of the Catholic world talk about?

America’s Jewish public policy umbrella group has a suggestion.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs and its Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life want the pontiff and the president to discuss the environment.

“Both President Obama and Pope Francis have spoken independently about our responsibility for creation and the risks of ignoring climate change,” said JCPA’s chair, Susan Turnbull, in a statement issued Monday. “For them to do so together would be a powerful reminder to all communities that we cannot squander resources or permanently damage our environment.”

It may seem unusual for a Jewish policy group to be weighing in on the agenda of a papal meeting, but the environmental lobbying surrounding the Francis-Obama meeting actually has a decidedly ecumenical cast.

JCPA and COEJL are encouraging folks to sign a petition that urges Obama to invite the pope to visit one of America’s national parks or monuments. That petition was initiated by Richard Cizik, president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.

Jews, evangelicals — everyone wants a piece of this pope!

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