Why am I not surprised?
President Obama said in an interview on Wednesday that he had been “hugely impressed” with Pope Francis, “not because of any particular issue” but because he seemed to be “thinking about how to embrace people as opposed to push them away.”
“He seems somebody who lives out the teachings of Christ. Incredible humility, incredible sense of empathy to the least of these, to the poor,” the president said in an interview on CNBC. “He’s also somebody who’s, I think, first and foremost, thinking about how to embrace people as opposed to push them away. How to find what’s good in them as opposed to condemn them.”
Pope Francis has given two interviews that were published in the last two weeks in which he has indicated that he wants to see a truce in the culture wars and that the church should put love and mercy above doctrine and judgment. On the issues of abortion, gay marriage and contraception, Pope Francis said, “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” adding, “We have to find a new balance.”
These words may offer a ray of hope to Mr. Obama, who has been locked in a standoff with Roman Catholic bishops in the United States. The bishops are suing the Obama administration over a mandate in the president’s health care law that requires Catholic colleges and hospitals to allow their employees access to free birth control, including morning-after pills that the bishops say are abortifacients. Declaring that President Obama is a threat to the church’s religious freedom, the bishops have mounted a major campaign to rally Catholics across the country to oppose the contraception mandate.
Go here to The New York Times to read the rest. Memo to the Pope: With all respect your Holiness, when someone like Obama, who manifestly despises what the Catholic Church teaches, is hugely impressed by you, that is probably a sign that something is going very, very wrong.