Pope Francis has landed on American soil and is working on a packed schedule, addressing Congress and receiving guests at the White House.
Although the Pope is a treasured guest – and his presence on American soil is an honor to American Catholics – the President, who has cited the Pope favorably on issues if Climate Change and foreign policy, hasn’t been as conciliatory to the Pontiff in practice as he has been to other leaders. When Pope Francis visits the White House tomorrow, instead of being greeted by a bevy of high profile Catholic leaders, he’ll be greeted by dissident nuns, an Anglican Bishop, leaders of pro-choice Catholic “social justice” organizations, LGBT activists and an Obamacare proponent.
When Francis arrives at the White House on Wednesday for a welcome reception, his greeters will include “Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Anglican bishop who’s now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a think-tank with ties to the Democratic Party, and Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Catholic social justice lobby Network, and a leader of the ‘Nuns on the Bus’ advocacy tours,” reports the Associated Press…
GBT advocacy group GLAAD announced Wednesday that “the White House has extended an invitation for GLAAD and LGBT Catholic leaders to attend the White House reception for Pope Francis,” and that two representatives from their organization would be attending.
Also attending will be Mateo Williamson, “a former co-head of the transgender caucus of Dignity USA, a group for LGBT Catholics … [who] said the Vatican’s disapproval of his presence at the ceremony ‘speaks to the necessity for continued dialogue’ between transgender Catholics and the church hierarchy,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
I suppose it’s always possible that Barack Obama, who gets his news mainly from the media rather than the kind of trusted advisors and experts who would normally handle such important matters of State, that Obama thinks these are Pope Francis’s besties – though Francis has been rightly adamant about the Church’s position on abortion and gay marriage. And I could say that maybe these are the only “Catholics” that Barack Obama knows – after all, it’s the Pope, right? I should be charitable.
More likely, though, Barack Obama thinks he’s being smart by “helping” to expose the Pontiff to “differing points of view.” The Vatican is rightly outraged and the White House should be ashamed of itself. The Pope is their guest, not the other way around. But, of course, they know Pope Francis has been kind to pretty much everyone, from Fidel Castro on down, so it’s unlikely the Pope would confront the Obamas for their faux pas. I do wonder, however, if they’d be willing to try the same tactic on less conciliatory leaders. Last week, when Saudia Arabia’s diplomatic envoy and governmental leadership paid a visit to the West Wing, the LGBT activists, who might have had something to say about the Fourth Century punishments their compatriots face daily in the Middle East, weren’t on the guest list. Womens rights groups probably never heard a peep from the Social Secretary.
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