Obama began the meeting with brief remarks, describing his conversation with the Holy Father just after his election, the National Catholic Register reported. The president said he looks forward to his meeting with Pope Benedict next week, especially to discuss immigration, climate change and the Middle East.All important issues, to be sure, but not the issue.
President Obama said he views the Holy See in some ways like a government, with whom he will sometimes agree and sometimes disagree, but also as more than a government, because of the influential role played by the Church across America and throughout the world.More than a government? Well, yes. Remember "My Kingdom is not of this world"?
Father Owen Kearns, editor in chief and publisher of The National Catholic Register, observed, “The most noteworthy thing during the meeting was his dispelling of what you might call the expectation of the worst regarding conscience clauses.”My not-so-underlying position is: I disapprove of abortion and killing of any type.
Obama told those gathered that he had only reversed the Bush-administration’s conscience provisions because “it hadn't been properly reviewed” and there were questions about “how broad it might be and what its manifestations would be once implemented.”
Yet Obama assured people that “my underlying position has always been consistent, which is I'm a believer in conscience clauses.”
Father Kearns also commented on Obama’s treatment of the divide between conservative and liberal Catholics. “After the first question, from the National Catholic Reporter's Joe Feuerherd, the president jokingly asked, ‘Was there really [a controversy at Notre Dame]?’”
Regarding the division of opinions within the Church, Obama said he believes that “the American bishops represent a cross section of opinion just like other groups do,” said the National Catholic Reporter.
Uh...Eminences and Excellencies? The above quote is your challenge. You're not "just like other groups." For the love of God, will you get your acts together?