- Official press release the the Vatican published today after Benedict XVI received U.S. President Barack Obama in audience:
his afternoon, Friday 10 July 2009, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI received in Audience the President of the United States of America, His Excellency Mr. Barack H. Obama. Prior to the Audience, the President met His Eminence Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, and also His Excellency Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.
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.
- In addition to giving Obama a copy of his latest encyclical, the pope also presented a copy of the Vatican document on biomedical ethics, "Dignitas Personae" ("The Dignity of a Person") (Catholic News Agency):
When presenting the gifts after their 35-minute closed-door meeting, the pope gave Obama a signed, white leather-bound copy of the encyclical, "Caritas in Veritate" ("Charity in Truth"), then indicated the light-green soft-cover instruction on bioethics issued last December by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.Carl Olson notes:"Some observers, I'm betting, will emphasize that since President Obama is not a Catholic, the gift of Dignitas Personae means little or nothing. That argument, however, is implicitly addressed in the opening of the document". Dignitatis Humanae addresses itself "to the Catholic faithful and to ALL who seek the truth,"
"Oh, what we discussed earlier," said Obama, referring to their closed-door discussions. "I will have some reading to do on the plane."
Obama was given the instruction to help him better understand the church's position on bioethics, Msgr. Georg Ganswein, papal secretary, told journalists in the pool covering the visit.
[drawing] upon the light both of reason and of faith and seeks to set forth an integral vision of man and his vocation, capable of incorporating everything that is good in human activity, as well as in various cultural and religious traditions which not infrequently demonstrate a great reverence for life.
- "Pope presses Obama on pledge to reduce abortions", John Allen Jr. (National Catholic Reporter):
When President Barack Obama came calling on Pope Benedict XVI today, the two men enjoyed a “truly cordial” encounter, according to a Vatican spokesperson, but at the same time there was no diplomatic silence from the pontiff about their differences over abortion and other “life issues.”
Not only did Benedict press his pro-life case with his words to the president, but he even found a way to make the point with his gift, offering the president a copy of a recent Vatican document on bioethics. According to a Vatican spokesperson, the pope drew a repetition from Obama of his vow to bring down the actual abortion rate.
- According to the Catholic News Agency, "when President Barack Obama stepped into the pope's private library in the Vatican July 10, he became only the 12th U.S. president to do so."