- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Obama administration and the Vatican decided that a 21-gun salute in honor of Pope Francis‘ arrival at the White House Wednesday would not be appropriate because the pontiff is a “man of peace.”

Such salutes are commonplace when foreign leaders visit the White House, and a salute will take place Friday when Chinese President Xi Jinping comes to Washington, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

But in Pope Francis‘ case, Mr. Earnest said, it would have been a bad fit.

“This pope has a reputation of somebody who doesn’t revel in the pomp and circumstance as much as some other world leaders do. And so it was in deference to his humility that a 21-gun salute was not included in the formal arrival ceremony today,” he said. “But, yes, some might also recognize the dissonance in welcoming a professed man of peace to the White House through the repeated firing of weapons. I think we felt like — what could be described as a slightly more subdued welcome ceremony was the most appropriate way to welcome Pope Francis to the White House.”

Mr. Earnest could not say whether White House officials suggested the salute be scrapped or if Vatican leaders raised the issue first.

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