To do the Papal bidding
“WASHINGTON – Sweeping into office in 2009, President Barack Obama captured near rock-star status around the world among millions who saw him as the embodiment of a new sense of social purpose. Now, that baton has largely been passed to Pope Francis, whose visit to the White House next month will put his common cause with Obama on vivid display.
Obama has made no secret of his affection for the outspoken pope, calling him a “transformative leader” whose influence has transcended the Roman Catholic community. The pope has embraced many of the issues Obama has sought to advance, including global warming, poverty and diplomacy with Iran and Cuba.
“It’s going to be a come-to-Jesus moment — no pun intended — for the many politicians who want to claim the mantle of Pope Francis,” said Michael Wear, a former White House official who led faith outreach for Obama’s 2012 campaign.”
“In a way, Pope Francis has become a conscience for this age of the world. When President Obama came to office, he too had that aura for at least the first couple of years,” said Stephen Schneck, who runs the Catholic politics institute at Catholic University of America. “But Pope Francis’ message is moral and religious. He’s not going to be talking about legislation.”
The White House has praised Francis for involving himself in issues usually left to politicians
When he visited Francis early last year, Obama contradicted the official Vatican account of their meeting by saying they hadn’t discussed social issues in any detail. Papal aides insisted the two leaders indeed discussed religious freedom, life and conscientious objection — buzzwords for abortion, birth control and parts of Obama’s health care law. Courier post August 26