Pope Didn’t Give President a Free Pass

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from The Gray Area:

Pope Francis didn’t give President Obama a free pass on Religious Freedom. Catholic commentators note that, despite President Barack Obama’s efforts to downplay the issue, Pope Francis insisted on raising religious liberty during their discussions yesterday.

Vatican Information Service issued a 137-word statement that fell short of offering any papal endorsement of the president’s economic policies and talking points.

How it ended:
It should come as no surprise that the president left the Vatican without a papal endorsement of his messaging on income equality. Pope Francis’ predecessors have also disappointed political leaders who sought their approval.

However, Pope Francis did give Obama a gift, nevertheless — a copy of Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). That apostolic exhortation offers a blueprint of the Pope’s plan for evangelization to the fringes of the Church, and features a critique of market economies that ignore the needs of the poor..

But the papal document also has a good deal to say about the evil of abortion and the necessity of religious freedom.

“A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatizing religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques,” wrote Pope Francis.

President Obama thanked the Pope for giving him his exhortation and said he would read it.

Replied the Pope, “I hope so.”

Read more: National Catholic Register, March 28, 2014