Private meeting between Cardinal George, President Obama in Oval Office
March 18, 2009
President Barack Obama met privately in the Oval Office on March 17 with Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The meeting came one day after Cardinal George warned that the Obama administration’s proposed removal of conscience-protection regulations for health care workers “would be the first step in moving our country from democracy to despotism.” After the meeting both the White House and the US bishops' conference issued carefully worded statements, offering no specific information about the content of the discussion. A USCCB press release noted, “Cardinal George and President Obama discussed the Catholic Church in the United States and its relation to the new Administration. The meeting lasted approximately 30 minutes. At the conclusion, Cardinal George expressed his gratitude for the meeting and his hopes that it will foster fruitful dialogue for the sake of the common good.” According to the White House Press Office, “The President and Cardinal George discussed a wide range of issues, including important opportunities for the government and the Catholic Church to continue their long-standing partnership to tackle some of the nation’s most pressing challenges. The President thanked Cardinal George for his leadership and for the contributions of the Catholic Church in America and around the world.”
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