OGDEN, Utah -- Monday marked a historic occasion, it was the first time a leader from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met with Pope Francis at the Vatican -- at least as far as anyone can remember.
The meeting was only part of Henry B. Eyring's visit to Rome. He's also expected to speak at a conference about marriage.
Eyring joins a diverse group of academics and faith leaders, including a close friend of the LDS Church professor Robert George.
“It's time for all of the religions to stand up and bare witness and say really enough is enough. We are not going to let the marriage culture erode any further,” George said.
Bishop John Wester of the Salt Lake City Catholic Diocese is also in Rome this week supporting the Cathedral of the Madeline's youth choir on its singing tour in Italy.
In light of the conversation in Rome this week he offered his thoughts on the gathering.
"I think there have been many topics, frankly, and many occasions where the Catholic Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have come together for the common good. And this is certainly a very significant area of agreement, but there are many others,” he said.
Weber State University professor and diversity expert Adrienne Gillespie Andrews said a forum like this is important as the definition of marriage has changed across the globe, though she feels it’s a discussion that could be even more inclusive.
“Even people who don't identify with a faith tradition, what does marriage mean for them and how do they structure that in their lives,” Andrews said. “And how do they work with people who do have a religious tradition?"
LDS Church officials say the meeting between the Pope and President Eyring shows the unity between the two religions on marriage and adds the colloquium is rare chance to collaborate with 14 faiths from 23 countries.
President Eyring is expected to speak Wednesday in Rome.