When Benny met Barry: “I’ll pray for you!”

Benedict and Barack.jpgThe first word via Vatican Radio and first image (that I saw) via Rocco:

Speaking to Vatican Radio, Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi said “moral values in international politics, immigration and the Catholic Church’s contribution in developing countries” were key topics of discussion between the pope and the president.


In addition, Fr. Lombardi said the they discussed inter-religious dialogue and Middle East peace, with both reaffirming the need for a two state solution. He said the US president “reiterated his commitment to reducing the incidence of abortion”.

President Obama’s parting words to Pope Benedict Friday were that he looked forward to future strong relations between the United States and the Holy See, Pope Benedict told the President: “I thank you for all your work! I’ll pray for you!”

Let the conservative tsurris begin.

As for the substance, the official joint statement in English (original language) is here.


In the course of their cordial exchanges the conversation turned first of all to questions which are in the interests of all and which constitute a great challenge for the future of every nation and for the true progress of peoples, such as the defence and promotion of life and the right to abide by one’s conscience.

Reference was also made to immigration with particular attention to the matter of reuniting families.

The meeting focused as well upon matters of international politics, especially in light of the outcome of the G8 Summit. The conversation also dealt with the peace process in the Middle East, on which there was general agreement, and with other regional situations. Certain current issues were then considered, such as dialogue between cultures and religions, the global economic crisis and its ethical implications, food security, development aid especially for Africa and Latin America, and the problem of drug trafficking. Finally, the importance of educating young people everywhere in the value of tolerance was highlighted.


Carol Glatz and Cindy Wooden also have this account:

As they met, Obama told the pope, “It’s a great honor; thank you so much.”

The two sat down at a desk in the papal library and began discussing the G-8 summit — the meeting of the world’s wealthy industrialized countries, which concluded that morning in L’Aquila, Italy. The summit focused on the economic crisis, climate change and global tensions.

Pope Benedict told the president, “You must be tired after all these discussions.”

The president responded that the meetings marked “great progress” and “something concrete,” although the precise topic they were discussing at that point was unclear.


Pope Benedict gave Obama a mosaic showing St. Peter’s Basilica and Square, an autographed copy of Caritas in Veritate (I wonder if Obama will edit it with a red or gold pencil?) and a medal marking the fifth year of his pontificate. (That would into his second term, in Obama’ envious eyes.) The president told the pope the mosaic, which was made in the Vatican’s mosaic studio, “was very beautiful,” according to CNS, and would have “a place of honor” in the White House.

Apparently Benedict gave the president a stole that was placed on the remains of St. John Neumann.

And CNS’ Cindy Wooden reports that the pope also gave Obama the Vatican document on bioethics, released in December. A little light reading for illumination on the plane ride to Ghana.

Comments read comments(10)
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Mike Sweitzer-Beckman

posted July 10, 2009 at 2:33 pm

The National Catholic Reporter also had some good coverage of this meeting:

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posted July 10, 2009 at 3:30 pm

I’m sure Obama was quite serious. He will pray for the Pope, and he does understand the power of prayer.

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posted July 10, 2009 at 3:50 pm

I am amused that you would actually think that the pope gave the president the stole/relic of St. John Neumann…it was the other way around!
I am glad that these two important men had this cordial meeting and I pray that President Obama is influenced by the church’s wisdom on bioethical matters as discussed in the document and the encyclical. Benedict is a wise, holy and gracious man who contributed profoundly to my conversion … who knows what effect he can have on Obama who seems reasonable and intelligent but very misguided and short sighted on some critical issues. God bless them both!

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Clare Krishan

posted July 11, 2009 at 8:47 am

Tuned in to the live feed on H20News. The First Lady’s poise charmed the socks off Papa Benny! Have you ever seen a more elegant version of someone unfamiliar with court etiquette carry off the obligatory chapel veil? It appeared to me she positively delighted in the dignity it lent her and the occasion – fashionistas take note, the veil is “in” !!

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posted July 11, 2009 at 11:04 am

I thought this was a very balanced article, seemed to stay on point and provide an insight into the meeting.
It’s really not all that hard to see that “common ground” does indeed have meaning. It means that people who have differing views share them with respect, and honor the dignity and the intelligence of their opponent by permitting them the time to digest the differences, and they leave open the possibility for more discourse and dialogue.
I don’t think anyone anywhere believes that Obama will change the Pope. But I do believe, as a Catholic, that the Church can change the secular world’s view of abortion. But I do believe we should be following the Pope’s lead on how to do it, rather than badgering the Pope to act like us.

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Your Name

posted July 11, 2009 at 12:49 pm

I would be good if Obama was true to his words spoken. So far, he has not for he says what he thinks people want to hear and then goes ahead does only what he wants. To me that is being much less than be thruthful or would it adhere to any Christian doctrine. Our Lord said, ” Beware of a wolf dressed in sheeps clothing”. As the Pope says” I will pray for You”. so too must we pray.

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Your Name

posted July 13, 2009 at 8:23 am

God answers prayer. Pray for your friends, pray for your enemies. Have we not seen God bring about the most miraculous change in the most stubborn hearted?

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active princess USA

posted July 14, 2009 at 12:36 pm

The Christ,
The King of kings,
The Lord of lords,
Whom the Armies of Heaven will follow,
He has a new Name,
I have learned It,
I have seen Him,
He is of German descent
and is found in the Temple,
with a ‘Monsignor’ status given Him
among the Vatican Cardinals,
Pass it on – spread the Secret:
Christ’s new Name is this Our Time is
Georg Ganswein.
His age on July 30, in this Summertime
now know to all who love Him and His Bride
as the new Christmas Season,
is 53.
Protect Him and Me.
Thank you for your kind listening.
Let the good and the holy
keep on being good and holy;
Let the wicked and depraved
keep on being wicked and depraved.
Christ is King of Heaven
which is High above the greatness of the vast entire Cosmos.
He is Faithful and True.

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Your Name

posted July 15, 2009 at 10:23 am

Heavenly Father, we pray for eyes to be opened and for ears to hear. We pray for understanding and a yielding of human will to your will. We pray for all to understand how sacred human life is because you created it and you became one of us. We pray for President Obama that he will ackowledge that you will transcends all other wills and that you have made life sacred. We pray that he will begin to see that all humans have been given the right to life because life is a gift from you. We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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Your Name

posted July 20, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Heavenly Father, we pray for all in authority because they, like all of us, are fallible and finite. Though our President is accountable for his actions, he remains worthy of your love and your grace. Help us Lord to be a conduit of your grace. We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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