Obama meets the Pope: the spin begins

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Mar 27, 2014

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Pope Francis, President Obama said that Church concerns about religious freedom and individual conscience were “not really a topic of conversation” during the exchange.

That’s funny. The Vatican summary of the discussion mentioned “questions of particular relevance for the Church, such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection..” Since the entire Vatican summary of the conversation encompassed just 98 words, that suggests that the Pope laid heavy emphasis on those questions. Maybe the President wasn’t listening carefully.

Obama did say that he spoke with the Holy Father about “the poor, the marginalized, those without opportunity, and growing inequality.” That sounds entirely plausible, doesn’t it? And yet here’s the interesting thing: The Vatican statement doesn’t mention any of those topics. Not a single word.

If the subject of economic inequality was the main topic of the conversation, why didn’t the Vatican even mention that subject? I can think of two possible explanations:

  1. The people who prepared the official Vatican statement aren’t terribly enthusiastic about promoting the Pope’s agenda.
  2. The people who prepared the official Vatican statement aren’t terribly enthusiastic about promoting someone else’s agenda.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Mar. 28, 2014 8:18 AM ET USA

    Is the implication here that Obama is lying? Our president!?! I'm shocked, SHOCKED, mind you!