Via Father Z
When the Pope Benedict admitted Pres. Obama into his presence today, he gave him gifts of a medal, a mosaic of St. Peter’s Square and, according to Catholic News Service Twitter feed, a copy of CDF’s instruction on bio-ethical questions Dignitatis personae.
This was not in the regular story CNS filed, however. It might be a good thing, as a follow up to this “historic meeting”, to ask the WH Press Secretary, or the President himself, if the President read what the Pope gave him.
Dignitatis personae is only a little under 10K words, after all. Surely someone as brilliant at this President would be able to absorb Dignitatis personae in the limo between the Cortile San Damaso and the Via della Conciliazione.
According to the Catholic Herald, the best UK weekly, the Holy Father also gave the President a copy of Caritas in veritate.
Well… Caritas in veritate is nearly 28K words. The President might need a little longer in the limo to read that. Perhaps as far as the Campidoglio.
One Italian news broadcast says that Pres. Obama said that he would read the encyclical on the airplane.
Also, according to SKY TG24 Fr. Lombardi said that Pres. Obama told the Pope that he would try to reduce the number of abortions in the USA.
In the past is was not usual for the conversation of the Pope with a head of state to be reported.
If the Vatican is saying this… well… I suppose it could be a way of vindicating the meeting and trying to holding them to.
I have seen many reactions to the gift of this instruction by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the President. Many see it as a kind of slam to the President. No doubt though that for the Pope it was a true gift. He saw an area of the truth that the President was especially deficit in and decided that this somewhat recent instruction would be a positive thing to give to him. It was certainly not an accidental selection that he be given a document regarding embryonic stem-cell research, the disposition of frozen human embryos, IVF, abortion and any intentional destruction of a human person from conception to natural death. The President has been awful on both sides of that with now him recently talking about futile care (euthanasia). The document starts:
1. The dignity of a person must be recognized in every human being from conception to natural death. This fundamental principle expresses a great “yes” to human life and must be at the center of ethical reflection on biomedical research, which has an ever greater importance in today’s world. …
The Pope should have told him there would be a test later on the contents of the document.