White House Says Obama, Pope Benedict XVI Will Have "Frank" Talk on Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
July 8, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The White House is saying that pro-abortion President Barack Obama and Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Catholic Church, will have a "frank’ talk on abortion when they meet on Friday. Obama is currently in Italy for the Group of Eight summit and the two will meet after the conference concludes.
"I think there will be a frank discussion [about abortion]," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters aboard Air Force One, according to an AP report.
On subject like abortion where Obama is out of step with the pro-life teachings of the Catholic faith, Gibbs said "even if we don’t see eye to eye on everything, there are steps that can be taken on a number of issues that will show progress, whether it’s on something like unintended pregnancy or adoption."
Gibbs said the pontiff is "somebody that gets to see a lot of the world, and I think getting his continued support for these efforts is obviously important."
The relationship between Obama and Catholics has been tenuous.
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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