Pope Francis met with U.S. President Donald Trump and his family Wednesday at the Vatican where they exchanged gifts and spoke about peace and other issues.
President Trump and the pope have sparred over immigration, the environment and other issues, but both agree on one essential issue: the protection of human life from abortion. They released a joint statement standing against abortion:
“This morning, Wednesday 24 May 2017, the Honorable Donald Trump, president of the United States of America, was received in audience by the Holy Father Francis and subsequently met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by His Excellency Msgr. Paul Richard Gallagher, secretary for relations with states.
During the cordial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for the good existing bilateral relations between the Holy See and the United States of America, as well as the joint commitment in favor of life and freedom of worship and conscience.”
NPR reports the meeting lasted about 30 minutes with Pope Francis, Trump, his wife, Melania, daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner.
“He is something,” Trump said afterward. “We had a fantastic meeting.”
Here’s more from Politico:
The president was effusively gracious to the pope throughout the meeting, according to the traveling pool of reporters who were allowed to observe some of Trump’s time with him, thanking him repeatedly as they exchanged gifts. Trump again told the pope, “Thank you. Thank you. I won’t forget what you said,” as their meeting came to a close.
“Honor of a lifetime to meet His Holiness Pope Francis. I leave the Vatican more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world,” Trump wrote on Twitter following his visit.
It is not known if the two world leaders talked about the abortion issue, but both have promoted the value and dignity of unborn babies through their work.
On two different occasions last week, the pope urged society to protect unborn babies’ right to life. On Saturday, he sent encouraging words to pro-life advocates at the March for Life in Italy; and on Thursday, he promoted the dignity of human life to a group of medical researchers and families suffering from Huntingdon’s disease.
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During the meeting last Thursday, the pontiff urged the researchers to continue their work seeking relief from and cures for diseases like Huntingdon’s, but he also urged them not to destroy human lives in their attempts to save others’.
“Some branches of research, in fact, utilize human embryos, inevitably causing their destruction,” the pope said. “But we know that no ends, even noble in themselves, such as a predicted utility for science, for other human beings or for society, can justify the destruction of human embryos.”
Pope Francis told the group that all human beings, whether sick or healthy, young or old, are “precious in the eyes of God.”
With Trump, there were some doubts about the sincerity of his pro-life beliefs, but his first few months in the White House have shown a commitment to protecting unborn life.
Trump appointed numerous pro-life leaders to his administration, including two pro-life leaders to key health department posts. In April, he appointed Charmaine Yoest, the former president of Americans United for Life, one of the most prominent pro-life organizations in the country, to a top communications post at HHS. Yoest replaces a staunch abortion advocate who is now a vice president at the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
The appointment continued President Trump’s pro-life record that he started in January with reinstating the Mexico City policy defunding International Planned Parenthood and continued with defunding the pro-abortion UNFPA and signing a bill to allow states to defund Planned Parenthood.
In an interesting strategy move, Trump also offered to support Planned Parenthood funding in the U.S. if it agreed to stop doing abortions and focus on legitimate health care. The abortion chain’s leaders refused, calling the offer “obscene and insulting.” Trump’s offer exposed to the public that the killing of unborn babies, not women’s health care, is Planned Parenthood’s true focus.
Earlier this week, Trump released his proposed budget plan, which excludes Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from receiving tax dollars from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The budget language goes beyond legislation pending in the Senate that would defund Planned Parenthood under the Medicaid program. As the pro-abortion Huffington Post reports, Trump’s budget would prohibit the Planned Parenthood abortion corporation from receiving tax dollars to participate in any federal health program.