The Norman Transcript

Religion

January 24, 2014

Obama, Pope to meet during European trip

WASHINGTON — When President Barack Obama meets Pope Francis in the Vatican in March, both men will speak a common economic language rooted in similar views about poverty and income inequality, giving prominence to an issue that the U.S. president wants to be a central theme of his second term.

In the complicated relationship between the Obama administration and the Catholic Church, the White House sees the popular new pontiff and his emphasis on the plight of the poor as a form of moral validation of the president’s economic agenda. When Obama delivered a major address on the economy last month, he cited the growth of inequality across the developed world and made sure to note that “the pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length.”

The White House and the Vatican announced Tuesday that Obama will meet with the pope on March 27 during a four-day European trip that includes a nuclear security summit in the Netherlands and a U.S.-European Union summit in Brussels. The meeting is the first between the president and Pope Francis.

Obama had an audience with the previous pope, Benedict XVI, in July 2009. At the time, the Vatican underscored the deep disagreement between them on abortion. Benedict gave the president a copy of a Vatican document on bioethics that asserted the church’s opposition to using embryos for stem cell research, cloning and in-vitro fertilization. Obama supports stem cell research.

Francis has made it clear that Catholic positions on homosexuality, same-sex marriage and abortion haven’t changed.

“But in his view those issues which create conflict need to be deemphasized a bit,” said John C. Green, a political scientist who specializes in religion and politics at the University of Akron.

The pope created a stir in November when he decried trickle-down theories that assert that economic growth can result in greater justice and inclusiveness as unproven. “The excluded are still waiting,” he wrote.

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Religion
  • Hnsen Luger Kate Hansen still riding the Olympic cloud

    Not many people can say they actually accomplished their lifetime dreams. Even less can say they did it before turning 22....

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tests of a living faith

    We recently started a study on Wednesday nights of the letter James wrote to the church. This Bible book is a practical guide to Christian living, but more than that, it really forces one to think honestly about their faith. Is your faith ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Which Bible bit is most misinterpreted?

    The Rev. Scott Gordon, Claycomo Baptist Church: Many passages vie for consideration, but the first “bit” that came to mind we find in Matthew 7:1-6 and Romans 2:1-5....

    July 24, 2014

  • CAIR-OK plans day of service

    The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) will join Mercy Youth Club and IST Youth at the fourth annual Ramadan Day of Service Saturday....

    July 18, 2014

  • Guest preacher and author to speak

    The Reverend Dr. James White will preach, as well as discuss, his new book, “Brief Christian Histories: Getting a Sense of Our Long Story,” this Sunday at First Christian Church, 220 S. Webster. White will preach at both 8:40 and 10:45 ...

    July 18, 2014

  • Life on earth is a vapor

    The last of the baby boomers turn 50 this year. This generation of Americans, born from 1946-1964, is named after the post-World War II “baby boom.” I am a baby boomer and as one of the “late boomers,” one of the last to turn 50 — ...

    July 17, 2014

  • What does a bird ‘alone on a housetop’ mean

    Reassurance of God’s mercy The Rev. Betty Hanna-Witherspoon, Ebenezer A.M.E. Church: This verse, Psalm 102:7, has a notation in the New Living Translation, “A prayer of one overwhelmed with trouble, pouring out problems before the ...

    July 17, 2014

  • Hillsboro resident’s first CD will benefit Haiti missions

    When Angie Sawyer's son passed away at age 5 she tried several ways to deal with her grief. But none of them worked, she said, until she turned to God. So to tell her story, she recently recorded her first CD, “On The Right Track.” All ...

    July 10, 2014

  • Anti-bias order creates rift

    In the intensifying debate over religious liberty, President Barack Obama faces pressure from opposite flanks as he prepares to issue an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against gay and transgender people in ...

    July 10, 2014

  • Is anything really free?

    We have just celebrated the nation’s 238th birthday. We are extremely proud of and attached to freedom. The Founding Fathers wrote into the founding documents practical truths that make those freedoms attainable. I love the fact that they ...

    July 10, 2014