President Barack Obama to Meet Pope Benedict XVI in July, May Discuss Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
June 24, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Barack Obama is now scheduled to have his first meeting with Pope Benedict XVI next month. Although the July 10 meeting date is known, it is unclear is whether the Catholic Church leader will encourage Obama to revise his position in favor of abortion.
Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said Wednesday that he informed the White House that the pontiff is available to meet that afternoon.
Typically, the Pope meets with dignitaries during the middle of the day, so a proposed afternoon meeting appears to indicate Benedict wants to meet with Obama.
The pro-life teachings of the Catholic Church and Obama’s pro-abortion views have been at odds since the beginning of his presidency.
Before Obama took over the White House, the nation’s Catholic bishops warned him not to aggressively promote abortion and not to include abortion in his health care restructuring proposal.
He upset pro-life Catholics immediately with his overturning of the Mexico City Policy and allowing taxpayer dollars to go to pro-abortion groups that promote and perform abortions overseas.
Then, Obama overturned President Bush’s protections against making taxpayers fund embryonic stem cell research that destroys human life.
Tensions grew further when the University of Notre Dame invited Obama to give its commencement speech and bestowed on him an honorary degree. Several dozen Catholic bishops and all pro-life groups criticized the move and how it gave legitimacy to Obama’s pro-abortion record.
Recently, L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s daily newspaper, came under fire for overlooking the record and saying Obama is not pro-abortion and hadn’t compiled the "radical" record his detractors expected.
During the meeting, pro-life Catholics hope the Pope will address Obama’s abortion record and urge him to do more to protect human life.
There is no word on whether Miguel Diaz, who Obama nominated to be the ambassador to the Vatican, will attend the meeting. Diaz has received criticism from pro-life advocates for glossing over Obama’s abortion record and campaigning for him during the presidential election.
Diaz also was among a group of Catholic professors who signed a latter backing the nomination of Kathleen Sebelius, who backs late-term abortions, as Obama’s health secretary.
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