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.


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.

0 thoughts on “Pope Presses Obama on Pro-Life Issues”
  1. Did you expect the Holy Father to embarrass or yell at the President? Come on now Mike! 🙂 I am sure they had a frank exchange. I certianly pray that this helps open the President's heart to the dignity of life in the womb. I doubt there was much debate in the 20 minute closed-door conversation though …

  2. He also didn't use the wrong fork, or sneeze on the buffet line, or scratch his privates during photo ops.

    I'm thankful we have a Pope both kind and courageous enough to engage in vigorous, respectful debate.

    It'd be nice if we had bloggers who were able to criticise directly, rather than using the Pope's actions to make oblique mischaracterizations of the actions of othrs. Because let's be honest, this post isn't about Benedict, but about Notre Dame.

    And if you're going to keep having last month's fight, you ought to have the decency to do it forthrightly, don't you think?

  3. Gashwin and Franklin–

    1) I've been very forthright about my opinion regarding the President speaking at Notre Dame. So I'm not hiding behind a news story.

    2) Gashwin–I didn't expect the Pope to yell at the President. Nobody expected him to mention the pro-life stuff either though nor give him a book–which was a classy touch. Much classier than what usually happens when pro-lifers call the President on the carpet. I'm saying more people should take a cue from our Pontiff. Nothing more, nothing less. If folks have a guilty conscience (not you, Gashwin) about how they treated the President now don't blame me. That's good Catholic guilt talking.

    3) Now I will say this because as you know, I am king of fairness. That more people who are Catholics should do this more often. It could end up bringing a reaction like the widow and judge in the gospel–where the widow simply is so persistent that the judge grants her request just to shut her up. What if pro-lifers sent a lot of pro-life literature every day to the White House and to members of congress. And not awful pictures of aborted fetuses either but measured arguments that they can wrestle with?

    I think that would get a lot more attention.

    How about y'all?

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