Obama, Francis find common ground, sharp divisions ← Related Article Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page MAX ROSSI/Reuters President Obama arrived at the Vatican for a private audience with Pope Francis in Vatican City on Thursday. MAX ROSSI/Reuters It would mark the first meeting between Obama and Francis. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images Pope Francis met with President Obama at the Vatican. Gabriel Bouys/AP The meeting came as Obama’s administration remains deeply split with the church over abortion and contraception. Gabriel Bouys/AP ‘‘It is a great honor. I'm a great admirer,’’ a broadly grinning Obama said. ‘‘Thank you so much for receiving me.’’ Gabriel Bouys/AP The two were scheduled to meet for just half an hour, but their private discussion lasted 52 minutes. Gabriel Bouys/AP Obama shared a laugh with Pope Francis. GABRIEL BOUYS/EPA Obama seemed buoyed by the meeting as they emerged and the pope greeted a handful of Obama’s senior advisers. GABRIEL BOUYS/EPA Ssecretary of State John Kerry was among those who posed for a photo with Obama and Francis. KEVIN LAMARQUE/Reuters After the visit, Obama joked of all the pageantry surrounding his Vatican visit, ‘‘His Holiness is probably the only person in the world who has to put up with more protocol.’’ SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images Obama and Francis then exchanged gifts, with the pope handing the president a plaque and an encyclical, or papal letter. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images Obama presented the pope with a seed chest with fruit and vegetable seeds used in the White House Garden. Gabriel Bouys/AP Before he departed, Obama asked the pontiff for prayers for his family, and the pope assented.