Benedict and Obama II

In his exclusive interviews with the Italian Catholic press, Obama highlighted the peace process in the Middle East and dialogue between faith traditions as the two areas which he thought the pope and himself could most fruitfully work together on.  And as others have noted, while the pope gifted Obama with a copy of Dignitatis Personae, Obama seemed to continue to warm the respect of the vatican diplomatic corps towards him. How? By framing his positions on bioethics in a policy of social justice which, he says, has both the intention of reducing abortions and sits as a coherent part of his vision of dialogue with the non-Western world and his proposals for global poverty reduction. The echos this encounter had to Obama’s recent speeches at Notre Dame and Cairo, as well as its syntony with the pope’s new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, have produced the sort of accolades for Obama by Cardinal Cottier pointed out by Cathleen Kaveny in the Nytimes, diffused some of the tension over bioethics, and given the two a full plate of issues to work on together over the next four years. Let’s hope they’re hungry.

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