The pope and the president

By | July 8, 2009

“Charity in Truth,” which runs approximately 28,000 words, covers a lot of territory. The pope talks about microfinancing, intellectual property rights, globalization, protection of the environment, labor unions and, as Hanson mentions, putting wealth at the service of the poor.

Pope Benedict also weaves into his encyclical the intrinsic value of human life, from conception to natural death.

“When a society moves toward the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good,” wrote Pope Benedict. “The acceptance of life strengthens moral fiber and makes people capable of mutual help.”

At the heart of the pope’s encyclical is charity, or love.

“Practicing charity in truth helps people understand that adhering to the values of Christianity is not merely useful, but essential for building a good society and for true integral development,” he wrote.

In anticipation of his meeting with the pope, Obama welcomed eight religious reporters to the White House last week. He told them his meeting with the pope would include discussions on topics addressed in the pope’s encyclical, and that the two men shared views on global concerns.

For some observers, today’s meeting will be a disappointment unless the pope chastises the president for his views on abortion and embryonic stem-cell research, or unless Obama alters his views on these topics. While political realities won’t allow that to happen, these topics could come up in conversation.

However, the pope is a practitioner of all that he preaches and he is sure to find common ground with the president on issues that will lead to greater human solidarity. Stay tuned to The Compass for more details.

– Sam Lucero

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