The meeting between Pope Francis and President Obama can be described as a "yes we can moment." It has been said that under Blessed Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan a meeting of like-minded souls took place that helped to challenge and tear down a wall (the Berlin Wall). This wall geographically and ideologically set many persons and nations apart.
Once again, the stars have aligned between two world leaders and the sovereign states they lead. Together they can work to bring down other constructed "walls" that divide the human family. Indeed, the meeting between the first Latin American Pope and the first African American President can deepen the already existing cooperation between the world's most powerful nation and the Vatican, an institution with global reach and rich in "soft power."
Among other things, these two leaders can say: "yes we can" to combat world poverty and the growing inequalities between the rich and the poor, yes to end hostilities in places like Syria, yes to constructing the conditions for a lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis, yes to the fight against human trafficking, yes to caring for the future of our planet, yes to democracy and fundamental human rights, yes to the legitimate and proper role of religion in society, yes to the universal right to health care, and yes to promote just immigration laws here at home and abroad.
In so doing two leaders who represent distinct cultures and traditions, and surely have principle-based differences on a number of issues, will encounter one another for the sake of the common good.