There’s a very interesting piece by Vatican journalist Robert Moynihan, editor of Inside the Vatican, that talks about some extra reading material that Pope Benedict gave the president during their 35-minute meeting last Friday. It was a little green book that went unmentioned in any of the Vatican press releases.
No, it wasn’t a copy of the just-released papal encyclical on the economy: Veritas in Caritate. That was the planned gift announced by the Vatican press office. No, this was Dignitas Personae, released late last year that talks about the inherent dignity of every human, including the unborn. Benedict XVI probably figured out this was his best shot at getting Obama to read the Catholic Church’s arguments against abortion.
It is an authoritative statement on the church’s pro-life policy and it also includes a section on the duties of politicians to make moral laws. It also characterizes marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Mr. Moynihan says here that the green book was added to the mix at the last minute. Is this possibly to evade the watchful eyes of those in the Vatican press corps who were looking for ways the pope would try to change Obama’s pro-choice stance?
Well, it’s hard to tell whether there was a meeting of minds in the papal library or not. The Vatican obviously thinks it can influence Obama and it knew the president would need something to browse through during his plane trip to Ghana.
- Julia Duin, religion editor