Photo via The Foundry
The President had a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Thursday, where they talked about “the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection, as well as the issue of immigration reform” according to a statement put out by the Vatican.
Here is the Vatican statement on the meeting:
This morning, 27 March 2014, the Hon. Barack H. Obama, President of the United States of America, was received in audience by His Holiness Pope Francis, after which he met with His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.
During the cordial meetings, views were exchanged on some current international themes and it was hoped 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, there was a discussion on questions of particular relevance for the Church in that country, such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection, as well as the issue of immigration reform. Finally, the common commitment to the eradication of trafficking of human persons in the world was stated.
Here is the Politico’s coverage of Obama’s visit with the Pope, via Father Z (emphasis his):
VATICAN CITY — President Barack Obama was once the biggest superstar on the international stage. On Thursday, he headed here to benefit from the popularity of his replacement: Pope Francis.
The 50-minute meeting was a rare chance for Obama to associate himself with a world leader whose cool factor far outweighs his own, and it comes at a critical time in his presidency. The White House is still recovering from what aides call a “lost year,” and the president’s job approval ratings at home are dipping to new lows.
Obama planned to use the closely watched meeting to show how aligned he is with the pope on income inequality, poverty and immigration — issues important to both the White House and Democrats as they try to paint Republicans as insensitive to the needs of Americans before the upcoming midterms.
“He needs the Francis bump,” said Chad Pecknold, a theology professor at The Catholic University of America.
White House aides — starting at the top with chief of staff Denis McDonough, who is an observant Catholic — speak excitedly about that connection to the pope. And that’s the sense among their outside allies as well. Francis is a huge help in talking about income inequality, they feel, both because he elevates the issue and depoliticizes it, putting the Democrats onto higher moral ground.
As far as Obama and his acolytes are concerned, the visit was all about Obama, and reviving his popularity with members of the church he’s at war with. Will this his visit with the Pope give the president a “bump” in his approval rating? After all, they agree on so much – income inequality, poverty and immigration…
(No mention from the White House on the religious freedom lecture the most viciously pro-abortion and anti-Catholic president in American history surely received.)
Charles Krauthammer had no trouble figuring out which version of the meeting to believe…
“On the one hand you’ve got the Bishop of Rome, the Holy See, of whom a billion co-religionists believe in his infallibility,” Krauthammer said. “On the other hand you’ve got a man who said, ‘If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.’ So who are you going to choose?”