U.S. President Barack Obama met with Pope Benedict XVI, who presented Obama with a booklet about the church’s viewpoints, on Friday and promised to reduce the number of abortions taking place in the United States, reported Reuters.
Reuters also reported that the Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi said, “We know that this (abortion) is a crucial theme for the pope. There is no need to hide it. It (giving him the booklet) was an attempt to be clear, it was not polemical.”
Lombardi, as reported by Reuters, said that the pope was “very impressed” by Obama and that the pope was “extremely satisfied” with their conversation.
The BBC reported that the Vatican had adopted a polite attitude toward Obama, regardless of his shift away from the Bush administration’s policies concerning the funding of embryonic stem cell research.
The Vatican newspaper, reported the BBC, has defended Obama from attacks from abortion rights opponents in America in the past who, like some American Catholic bishops have said, claim that Obama is “pro-abortion.”
Obama also delivered a personal letter from Senator Edward Kennedy, diagnosed a year ago with terminal brain cancer, to the pope, reported the Associated Press. White House national security aide Denis McDonough said Obama and Benedict talked about Kennedy at the end of their meeting. Obama asked the pope to pray for Kennedy, a member of one of the United States’ most prominent Roman Catholic families and a politically ally to Obama.