Vatican radio today interviewed Vatican Press Office director, Fr. Federico Lombardi, who said that “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.
Holly Bailey filed this report:
Washington Post writer William Wan offers snippets, including this:
As Obama left, the Pope had some parting words for him, saying "I pray for you." Obama tells him, "I look forward to a very strong relationship" and "thank you, God bless you."
Okay, I admit it. I cried. The picture of President Obama being welcomed by Pope Benedict XVI in the frescoed halls of the Vatican touched my heart as well as my mind. These two men, so different in many ways – and so differently powerful – seemed to immediately transcend the bizarre aspects of such meetings, e.g., having to begin their meeting and exchange pleasantries while dozens of cameras are clicking away.
When Pope Benedict XVI meets with President Obama in Rome today, a shy German theologian and a charismatic leader known for his international rock star appeal will find plenty to agree on despite some profound differences in substance and style.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — President Barack Obama sat down with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on Friday for a meeting in which frank but constructive talks were expected between two men who agree on helping the poor but disagree on abortion and stem cell research.
"It's a great honor," Obama said as he greeted the pope, thanking him for the meeting. They sat down at the pontiff's desk and exchanged pleasantries before reporters and photographers were ushered out of the ornate room.
The pope was heard asking about the Group of Eight summit, the meeting of developed nations that concluded before Obama's arrival at Vatican City. Obama said it "was very productive."
CNN presented a live stream on its web site during the private meeting between Pope Benedict and President Obama. The cameras swtiched between a stream showing the waiting staff, outside the private room in which the meeting was taking place, and a stream showing the art work inside the papal palace.
The CNN web site gave continuous coverage without commentary; the news channel offered glimpses. Score one for the Internet.
The pope, Dionne suggests, is far to the political left of Obama. He goes on to say:
But the Vatican clearly views Obama through a broader prism. Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the papal nuncio in Washington, has privately warned American bishops that harsh attacks on Obama threaten to make the church look partisan.