Friday, March 28, 2014

Presidential Subterfuge?

There seems to be some discrepancy between what our president is saying was discussed in his meeting with Pope Francis and what the Vatican is saying. 

What follows is the complete text in English of the statement the Holy See press office released on Thursday, the day of the Holy Father's meeting with President Obama.

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.
In contrast, the White House has issued this text of President Obama answering questions about the meeting.
Mr. President, I just want to follow up on Jim’s question on your meeting with the Pope today.  Do you think some of the schisms that he referenced on social issues would stand in the way of you and Pope Francis collaborating or forming a strategic alliance to tackle income inequality? 
PRESIDENT OBAMA:  First of all, I just want to make clear -- maybe it wasn’t clear from my answer to Jim -- that we actually didn’t talk a whole lot about social schisms in my conversations with His Holiness.  In fact, that really was not a topic of conversation. 
Here is my question to the president.   Mr. President, did you not talk a whole lot about the social issues or was it not a topic of conversation at all.  If you talked a little bit, then it was a topic of conversation.  If it was not a topic at all, then why did you say you didn't talk a whole lot about it.  It seems to me that your two sentences contradict each other.  And your second sentence claiming that it was not a topic of conversation directly contradicts the Vatican's statement.
I'm betting that the Vatican statement is the accurate one.  Your words, Mr. President, seem to me to be subterfuge.

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