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President Obama Says Pope Francis Made Him Want to Be Better

James Devaney/GC Images;Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty

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Pope Francis has been back in Italy for about a week, but his inspiration still lingers in America.

President Obama spoke at a news conference on Friday night and shared his thoughts on how the pope’s message inspired him personally.

Pope Francis (left) and President Barack Obama
James Devaney/GC Images;Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty
“I think that when I spend time with somebody like the Pontiff then it makes me want to be better, makes me want to do better,” he said. “That’s part of the wonderful thing about Pope Francis, is the humility that he brings to do this.”

Obama also addressed the Pontiff’s message as it regards to a larger audience, saying that his holiness has the ability to “make us uncomfortable in his gentle way,” while he inspires kindness no matter what political camp you sit in.

“He’s constantly prodding people’s consciences and asking everybody all across the political spectrum what more you can do to be kind and to be helpful, and to love, and to sacrifice, and to serve,” the president said.

“I think he is speaking to all of our consciences, and we all have to then search ourselves to see if there are ways that we can do better.”

During his visit to the U.S., the pope spent his time meeting with victims of sexual abuse, discussing immigration with congress and even secretly met with rebellious Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis.

As he boarded the plane last week to return to Rome, he left Americans with one final message.

“My days with you have been brief,” Pope Francis said. “But they have been days of great grace for me and, I pray, for you too. Please know that as I prepare to leave, I do so with a heart of full gratitude and hope.

“This land has been blessed with tremendous gifts and opportunities. I pray that you may all be good and generous stewards of the human and material resources entrusted to you.”