While Pope Francis might agree with President Obama on political issues such as climate change and caring for the poor, the pontiff’s visit to Washington Wednesday included some moments that had to be uncomfortable for the White House libs.
Francis used his White House meeting to chide Obama on his dismal record on religious freedom — beginning with Obamacare’s demand that Catholic institutions provide contraception coverage for employees.
Then he doubled down with an unscheduled meeting with nuns from the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order that is challenging the contraception mandate in court.
“As my brothers, the United States bishops have reminded us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to preserve and defend that freedom from everything that would threaten or compromise it,” Francis said at the White House.
The Washington Times reported:
On religious liberty, however, Pope Francis‘ words — delivered in English — amounted to a mild lecture to the president and put in perspective how the pontiff and the president, despite their many areas of agreement, still seem worlds apart on major issues of church doctrine.
And no issue is more contentious than the contraception mandate and abortion-inducing drugs. It came to a head during the president’s re-election campaign when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops blasted Vice President Joe Biden for his false statement that no religious institution has to pay for or be a vehicle for contraception under the Affordable Care Act.
It continues to be fought in court to this day by the Little Sisters of the Poor, and Francis’ visit to the nuns’ Washington, D.C., convent was “a sign, obviously, of support for them,” Vatican Press Secretary, Rev. Federico Lombardi said, according to USA Today.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, indicated what the lawsuit represents for the church.
“Freedom of religion also means the ability to live out your religion,” he told USA Today.
“The last thing the Little Sisters of the Poor want to do is sue somebody. They want to serve the poor and the elderly, and do so in a way that doesn’t conflict with their beliefs. We feel strongly about that. It’s a freedom not of special privilege, it’s a freedom to serve others, and serve others in such a way that does not compromise the integrity of our beliefs.”
If Francis can get that message through to Obama, it will be a miracle.
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