Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

3/31/2014 (5 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Everyone who meets Pope Francis encounters his living faith - and is changed in the experience. He is straightforward in his presentation of the truth of the Gospel and is always concerned for the spiritual well-being of everyone he encounters. He is the universal pastor.

There was an exchange of gifts. The president gave the Pope literal seeds from the White House Garden to use in the upcoming planting in the apostolic garden. The Pope gave the President spiritual seeds, the seeds of the Gospel, to be planted in the heart of a man who needs their influence on many, many fronts. Hopefully, they will fall on good soil.When the meeting was over, the President thanked Pope Francis. Vatican reports indicate the President said, "Please pray for me and my family, they are with me on this journey - pray for them." We can all read between the lines of the Vatican statement. Many commentators will be parsing those few words for weeks to come. More importantly, we can all pray that the seed of the Gospel of Joy and Truth which the Pope gave to the President take root.

The Pope and the President

The Pope and the President

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/31/2014 (5 months ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Pope Francis, President Obama, seeds, Pro-Life, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, Religious liberty, Vatican, Deacon Keith Fournier


VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - On Thursday morning, March 27, 2014, President Barack Obama met Pope Francis behind closed doors for close to an hour. Leading up to the meeting, the spinning and speculating was running rampant. 

At the conclusion, it reached a fever pitch.

Over the coming weeks, there will be numerous accounts about the exchange. Some will be accurate, most will not. The spin masters will be out in full force.

I encourage our readers around the globe to pray that the encounter will bear real fruit in the life of President Obama and effect dramatic changes in his leadership.

Everyone who meets Pope Francis encounters his living faith - and is changed in the experience.

He is straightforward in his presentation of the truth of the Gospel and is always concerned for the spiritual well-being of everyone he encounters. He is the universal pastor.

There was an exchange of gifts. The president gave the Pope literal seeds from the White House Garden to use in the upcoming planting in the apostolic garden.

The Pope gave the President spiritual seeds, the seeds of the Gospel, to be planted in the heart of a man who needs their influence on many, many fronts. Hopefully, they will fall on good soil.

The official Vatican release is short but quite insightful:

This morning, 27 March 2014, the Hon. Barack H. Obama, President of the United States of America, was received in audience by His Holiness Pope Francis, after which he met with His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial meetings, views were exchanged on some current international themes and it was hoped that, in areas of conflict, there would be respect for humanitarian and international law and a negotiated solution between the parties involved.

In the context of bilateral relations and cooperation between Church and State, there was a discussion on questions of particular relevance for the Church in that country, such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection, as well as the issue of immigration reform. Finally, the common commitment to the eradication of trafficking of human persons in the world was stated.


Pope Francis gave the President a copy of his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, on the joy of the Gospel. The President told him, "I will actually probably read this when I am in the Oval Office and when I am deeply frustrated. I am sure it will give me strength and calm me down."

Speaking in English, Pope Francis replied, "I hope."

We need to pray that the President actually does read this beautiful apostolic exhortation. When and if  he does he will read paragraphs 213 and 214:

Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this.

Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church's effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right.

It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems.

Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defense of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, "every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offense against the creator of the individual".

Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question. I want to be completely honest in this regard. This is not something subject to alleged reforms or "modernizations".

It is not "progressive" to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life. On the other hand, it is also true that we have done little to adequately accompany women in very difficult situations, where abortion appears as a quick solution to their profound anguish, especially when the life developing within them is the result of rape or a situation of extreme poverty. Who can remain unmoved before such painful situations?

When the meeting was over, the President thanked Pope Francis. Vatican reports indicate the President said, "Please pray for me and my family, they are with me on this journey - pray for them."

We can all read between the lines of the Vatican statement. Many commentators will be parsing those few words for weeks to come. More importantly, we can all pray that the seed of the Gospel of Joy and Truth which the Pope gave to the President take root.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Europe

Old Age Is a Time of Grace: Pope Francis Calls the World to Honor the Elderly Watch

Image of More than 40,000 elderly men and women, including thousands of grandparents and grandmothers, attended this event. Prior to the Liturgy, an event entitled, The Blessing of a Long Life, featured powerful testimonies on aging and old age. Five passages from the Bible were used to demonstrate the dignity and contribution of the elderly throughout the history of God's plan of salvation.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

This Pope, who coined the powerful phrase - Throwaway Culture- to challenge the instrumentalism of the age and offer in its place a recovery of authentic love, demonstrated the breadth of his Pro-Life vision in his actions and his words on Sunday. The honored ... continue reading


British bishop tenders resignation over affair with married woman Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bishop Kieran Conry, of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton announced his resignation this past weekend. It was later learned that the 63-year-old bishop had an affair with a married mother-of-two and had engaged in an illicit affair with a second woman.  ... continue reading


Guarding horde for three days and nights, British builder unearths wealth of Roman coins Watch

Image of Egerton's discovery is also one of the best preserved  fourth century collections yet unearthed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An amateur metal finder has unearthed one of the largest hoards of Roman coins ever found in Britain. Fifty-one-year-old Laurence Egerton made the discovery as he explored land near Seaton in East Devon. So keenly aware of this once-in-a-lifetime find, he camped out ... continue reading


Parchment maps suggest Marco Polo landed in Alaska two centuries before Columbus Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Excluding the Vikings, it's a given that Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus discovered what would later become known as America in 1492. However, centuries-old maps and documents now suggest that Marco Polo got there first. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This ... continue reading


Priests, as well as chaplains at risk in Ukraine frontlines Watch

Image of Ukraine's soldiers have been assisted by chaplains from the numerous Christian confessions in the country: Ukrainian Greek Catholics; Roman Catholics; Ukrainian Orthodox - both Moscow and Kyiv Patriarchates and Protestant communities.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

More than 3,200 people have been killed in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. The provinces have experienced continual warfare between its government, and pro-Russian separatists and Russian forces. Those among the frontlines there include priests - both ... continue reading


Teenage couple, 14 and 15 years old arrested for lewd acts on Scottish beach Watch

Image of Hot weather there recently triggered an avalanche of sun and drink-seeking teenagers at the Scottish beaches of Troon and Ayr.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Scottish seaside beaches of Troon and Ayr have been the scene of some unsavory acts as of late. In one tasteless recent incident, a 15-year-old girl performed sexual acts on a 14-year-old boy mere feet away from vacationing families and children. LOS ... continue reading


Google's ongoing battle in Europe could cost it $6 billion Watch

Image of Google could face a fine of $6 billion if it loses its ongoing battle with the European commission.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Google's legal troubles with the European commission could cost it 10% of its global revenue, or about $6 billion, if it does not alter its offer to settle complaints, a fine that would be larger than the nearly $3 billion fine levied against Microsoft. LOS ... continue reading


Flown to France, Iraqi Christians get new chance at life Watch

Image of Few of the refugees speak French. Most have never ridden in a plane, let alone traveled to a Western country.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fleeing the death machinations of the Islamic State, 150 Iraqi Christians, of all ages boarded a plane headed to France for a chance at a new life. The people there at the Airport in Iraqi Kurdistan, boarding a French government plane all agree on one point - ... continue reading


Enormous Alexander the Great-era tomb discovered in northern Greece Watch

Image of Archaeologists discovered two magnificent caryatids within the tomb. Each of the sculpted female figures has one arm outstretched, probably to discourage intruders from entering the tomb's main chamber.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The discovery of a magnificent Alexander the Great-era tomb in northern Greece comes at a time when the nation, beset by economic hardship, needs a reminder of its once glorious past. Uncovered last month, the structure lies in ancient Amphipolis, a major city ... continue reading


Islamic State threatening French interests Watch

Image of The last few weeks have witnessed allegiance to the new caliph Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi of a wide range of katibates, or small terrorist groups) mainly in the Sahel region and North Africa.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

With the nation of France joining the fray against the march of the Islamic State have come calls for retaliation. With fresh military strikes on Islamic militants in Iraq, expressions of rage and hatred against France and its interests have been felt ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23
1 In the end it was Job who broke the silence and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:2-3, 4-5, 6, 7-8
2 may my prayer reach your presence, hear my cry for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:51-56
51 Now it happened that as the time drew near for him ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 30th, 2014 Image

St. Jerome
September 30: St. Jerome, who was born Eusebius Hieronymous Sophronius, was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter