So What Will the Pope and the President Talk About Today? – UPDATED

From the Vatican, where President Obama has arrived for his planned visit with Pope Francis:


The American president said, upon meeting the Holy Father,

“Thank you so much for seeing me, I’m a great admirer. I bring greetings from my country.

In an interview before the visit with the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera, President Obama said of the Pope,

“Given his great moral authority, when the pope speaks it carries enormous weight.  He can cause people around to the world to stop and perhaps rethink old attitudes and begin treating one another with more decency and compassion.”

There is no report yet as to what else the two world leaders may have talked about.  After Pope Francis’ very frank, impassioned remarks to members of the Mafia a week ago (that “repent or go to hell” speech), I’m expecting him to speak frankly about the concerns which Catholics have regarding Obama’s anti-life policies.

But first, the easy stuff:  As an ice-breaker, Pope Francis can embrace the President’s goals of immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, and fighting inequality.

Then, I hope the pontiff has some tough questions for the prez.  Questions about this Administration’s embrace of abortion, about so-called Affordable Health Care and the government’s entrenchment on the issue of mandatory coverage for birth control.   Questions about the meaning of religious freedom in a nation bound by the Constitution.

I’m sure there will be some reports coming out of Rome later today.  Watch this space!

*     *     *     *     *

UPDATE:  Sure enough, the Vatican Information Service has just released a summary of the items discussed by the Pope and the President.   This is a more reliable source than the media talking heads who will be speaking about this later today.

I do not see the word “abortion” anywhere here.  I don’t know, though, how there could be dialogue on this issue with this intransigent president.

Here is the Vatican’s statement, released just a few minutes ago:


Vatican City, 27 March 2014 (VIS) – This morning Barack H. Obama, president of the United States of America, was received in audience by Pope Francis, after which he met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial meeting, views were exchanged on some current international themes and hope was expressed that, in areas of conflict, there would be respect for humanitarian and international law and a negotiated solution between the parties involved.

In the context of bilateral relations and cooperation between Church and State, the Parties discussed questions of particular relevance for the Church, such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection, as well as the issue of immigration reform. Finally, the Parties stated their common commitment to the eradication of human trafficking throughout the world.


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I find it offensive that the man who has been the most anti Catholic president in history tries to bolster his approval numbers by cozying up to the Holy Father. Obama is a fake, phony, fraud. He has proven to be so. Will he suddenly change his stripes from supporting the death of failed abortion births to being pro-life? I hardly think so. Will he suddenly let Catholics practice their religious beliefs over the HHS mandate? I hardly think so. Is Obama suddenly going to renounce his statement about “bitter” people who “cling to their guns and religion?” I hardly think so. Obama has a hositility toward believing Christians. There is no reason for this visit other than political photo op.

    • Steve

      I’m not exactly a member of Obama’s fan club, but I feel like calling him the most anti-Catholic president in history has got to be an exaggeration. If nothing else, for the fact that the United States spent its first century being viruently anti-Catholic.

      • Well, that’s a pretty general statement. Yes, on a personal level there was anti Catholic bigotry, but you tell me which president and his administration had anything like Obama’s HHS mandate. You tell me which president and his administration supported anything like Planned Parenthood and abortion to the extreme of even killing failed aborted live births like Obama. you tell me what president and his administration supported anything like gay marriage. You tell me which president and his administration lied to the leading Bishop of the country straight to his face and went on to restrict religious freedom. You tell me which president and his administration ran his election on anti traditional cultural issues and won like Obama has. Don’t be general, be specific. In fact, I’ll give you help. Here’s a wikipedia entry on the history of anti Catholicism in the US: Sift through it and any other history book you want and show me specifically which president even comes close to Obama’s anti Catholic positions. I’m not talking about the culture at large; I’m talking about specific presidents and laws they supported and got passed. If you find it, I’ll retract my statement. I’m all ears.

  • From the update, the article said:

    “In the context of bilateral relations and cooperation between Church and State, the Parties discussed questions of particular relevance for the Church, such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom”
    And I’m sure Obama told the same bald face lie to the Holy Father he told Cardinal Dolan, that there was no restriction to religious liberty.

    • kathyschiffer

      Judging from the Pope’s facial expressions in most of the photos I’ve seen today, I don’t think he was buying it.

      One really poignant comment I saw: It’s interesting that the “gift” the President took to the Holy Father was crafted from wood taken from the pews where nuns no longer sit, and from an archdiocese which is currently suing the federal government over the HHS Mandate.

  • I just saw this in response to this meeting:

    Senator Rand Paul tweets: Forgive me
    Father for I have spied.