From John Allen at NCR and in my opinion the right way to engage the debate with the President. Thanks to the Pope for taking the lead here.
When President Barack Obama came calling on Pope Benedict XVI today, the two men enjoyed a “truly cordial” encounter, according to a Vatican spokesperson, but at the same time there was no diplomatic silence from the pontiff about their differences over abortion and other “life issues.”
Not only did Benedict press his pro-life case with his words to the president, but he even found a way to make the point with his gift, offering the president a copy of a recent Vatican document on bioethics. According to a Vatican spokesperson, the pope drew a repetition from Obama of his vow to bring down the actual abortion rate.
Beyond the life issues, the Vatican’s statement indicated that Benedict and Obama also found “general agreement” on the Middle East peace process and other regional situations. The two leaders also touched food security, development aid especially for Africa and Latin America, immigration and drug trafficking, according to the statement.
Coming away from the meeting, however, it was hard to escape the impression that Benedict wanted to use it to deliver a clear pro-life message.
Read the rest and then think about the Pope’s actions today. Did he embarrass the President? No. Did he yell at the President and call him a baby killer? No. Did he not show up for the meeting? No.
What did he do? HE ENGAGED THE DEBATE IN A HEALTHY AND CORDIAL MANNER.
My guess is that President Obama will read the book he gave him and start noting it in his plans to reduce abortions bringing us closer together on this issue.