Pope, Obama discuss relations between Church and State [CNA]

Vatican City, Mar 27, 2014 / 08:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- During the March 27 meeting between Pope Francis and President Barack Obama, the two exchanged cordial discussion regarding the state of the Church in the US, as well as topics of shared interest.

Lasting approximately 50 minutes long, the meeting marks President Obama’s second encounter with a Roman Pontiff since his election in 2008, the first being between he and Benedict XVI in July of 2009.

Upon greeting each other, President Obama asked the Pope how he was, expressing twice that it was “wonderful” to meet him, and stating that “It’s a great honor. I’m a great admirer. Thank you so much for receiving me.”

The US president also extended the greetings of his family, observing that “The last time I came to meet your predecessor, I was able to bring my wife and children.”

During the meeting, described as cordial, the US president and the Holy Father exchanged views on current international themes, expressing their hope that in areas immersed with conflict, there would be a greater respect for both humanitarian and international law, and that all parties involved would be able to negotiate a solution.

Regarding bilateral relations and matters regarding the cooperation between Church and State, the two discussed questions of particular relevance for the Church in the United States.

Among the topics touched upon were the exercise of citizens’ to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection, as well as the issue of immigration reform. A final point discussed was their shared interest in eradicating all forms of human trafficking throughout the world.

After the meeting concluded the two exchanged gifts, with President Obama giving the Pope a box containing a variety of seeds planted in the White House gardens in celebration of the opening of the gardens of the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo to the public earlier this year.

Presenting a second part to his gift, the US president revealed to the pontiff that in his honor a donation of seeds would also be given to a charity, which would provide several tons of fresh produce. The seeds, noted the president, represent the Pope’s commitment to sowing the seeds of global peace.

When presenting the gift to the Pope, the president extended his own invitation to the Holy Father, telling him “If you have a chance and come to the White House, you can see our garden,” to which the pontiff replied “Why not?”

Offering his own gifts to the US president, Pope Francis presented him with two bronze medals, one depicting an angel representing solidarity and peace that is bringing together the northern and southern hemispheres of the Earth, while at the same time is depicted overcoming a dragon.

The second medal commemorates the moment in 1657 when Pope Alexander VII laid the first stone of the north colonnade of St. Peter’s Basilica, and reveals the original plan of sculptor Antonio Bernini to include a third colonnade in the Square, but which was never built.

Also presented to President Obama was a red-covered copy of Evangelii Gaudium. Upon receiving it, the president commented that “You know I actually will probably read this in the oval office when I am deeply frustrated, and I am sure it will give me strength and calm me down.”

Pope Francis responded to him in English, saying “I hope.”

When parting with the Pope, President Obama thanked him in Spanish, saying “Muchos gracis,” and asking him to “Please pray for me and for my family. They are with me on this journey, please pray for them,” and adding that “My girls and wife have to put up with me.”

Following his encounter with the Holy Father, President Obama met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Secretary for Relations with State Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, saying to them “So nice to see you. It’s wonderful to be here.”

In attendance at the encounter between the president and Cardinal Parolin was US Secretary of Defense John Kerry, US ambassador to the Holy See Ken Hackett, US National Security Officer Susan Rice and Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi.


Full article…

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican says the Catholic Church’s objection to a contraception requirement under the Affordable Care Act was raised during President Barack Obama’s visit.

The Vatican says other areas of discussion during Obama’s historic visit included abortion, immigration reform, human trafficking and international issues.

The Vatican issued the short statement after Obama met separately Thursday with Pope Francis and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. The statement didn’t specify which topics were discussed in which meeting.


It seems like Pope Francis handled it well. This part was funny:

Also presented to President Obama was a red-covered copy of Evangelii Gaudium. Upon receiving it, the president commented that “You know I actually will probably read this in the oval office when I am deeply frustrated, and I am sure it will give me strength and calm me down.”

Pope Francis responded to him in English, saying “I hope.”


This is being sincerely asked.

Can someone tell me the point of these seemingly meaningless visits?

I imagine from Obama’s standpoint, he hopes to make people think that his own “income redistribution” is what the Pope has in mind when he talks about inequities in the world.

Never mind that Obama is talking almost exclusively about reshuffling income among members of the middle class, while the Pope is talking about the severe poverty in other parts of the world.

From the Pope’s standpoint, it’s probably one of those diplomatic things the Vatican does when heads of state want to visit. And (who knows?) he might have really wanted to cause Obama to start worrying about his own soul. A little pastoral counseling never hurts.

Pope Francis met with US President Barack Obama at the Vatican on March 27. In a brief public statement released after the meeting, the Vatican indicated that in their 52-minute …


Let’s pray that it did some good.

Time will tell.

It is nothing more that a photo op for both leaders, they get to rub elbows with each other, blow smoke in each others faces, have a few chuckles over some cute jokes, a couple of pats on the back to each, and off they go to doing what ever it is they need to do next .

A waste of tax payer money, and the Holy Father would have been better off giving that time to spend with anyone here from C.A.F .

Two influential leaders meet on good terms, well aware of their differences, but choosing not to remain entrenched in defiant, useless anger over these very differences. How can this be meaningless? It is a great example for all of us!

A cynical question: Did President Obama bow to Pope Francis as he has to Muslim dignitaries? Somehow, I think I already know the answer…:frowning:

The Pope meets world leaders as a matter of routine, it is natural that he would meet with the President of the USA on occasion. The meeting is of no more, or no less, significance that a pope meeting any other influential world leader.

The Pope should continue to meet world leaders, the alternative is to shut himself away in the Vatican.

Let’s not forget that Pope Benedict XVI did the same.


I hope that the President reads this part of Evangelii Gaudium very carefully:

  1. Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defence of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defence of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, “every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offence against the creator of the individual."

Also, as a pedantic Spanish student, I must point out that it’s “muchas gracias”, not “muchos”.

The news reports I read say that he did. Just as the Pope also sometimes bows to Muslim dignitaries when he meets them.

In public speeches, Obama has said how much he respects Islam and has claimed that Islam has played a significant role in the forming of American culture. He has described Islam as being part of a family heritage of which he is proud to have been brought up in. But as for his attitudes about Christianity, he has publicly said that he’s a Christian one time after being pressed. As per CAF rules, I will not give my opinion about this.

The responses to my question, with one exception, makes me wonder what the phrase “sincerely asked” mean to some of you.

It was a question. Not a criticism. Not a veiled snide remark. Not a veiled accusation.

A question.

Dialog has to start somewhere. :shrug: It’s hard to say you love someone if you never visit them, never share your heart with them, never pray with them. I think that’s probably what the pope is gunning for here.

I want to apologize for the above outburst.

I could have worded my question better. :o

Knowing the humility of Pope Francis I’m sure he would rather no-one bow to him…

The President speaks Spanish and the Pope speaks English when they meet? :slight_smile: No translators even? Somehow I don’t see a serious talk between the two.

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