Pope points the way on President Obama
Expect the pope in today's meeting with President Obama to take a different tack than the confrontational approach chosen by many U.S. bishops. Benedict rightly recognizes the new opportunities the Obama administration offers for partnership on the world's most intractable issues--nor is the Holy Father hostage to U.S. abortion politics. Today's New York Times piece on the issue offers some good background.
B16's approach, I think, will reflect the more measured approach that characterizes church-state relations with Europe in general, where abortion, though an issue, has never been the controlling issue. True, as Cardinal Ratzinger, Benedict forced the German bishops out of the pregnancy counseling business, but I think Obama can expect in the pope an openness and presumption of good will that the president has, quite frankly, not received from many U.S. bishops.
Since the U.S. bishops are often falling over themselves to demonstrate fidelity to the pope, I hope they pick up some political pointers in today's pope-president encounter.