Pope gives Obama bioethics document

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI gave President Barack Obama a surprise gift this evening: a copy of the Vatican’s document on bioethics and human dignity, which was published in December.


Illustration of an early stage human embryo (CNS)

The document, “Dignitas Personae” (“The Dignity of a Person”), was issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Strangely enough, about four hours before Obama arrived, I was in the Vatican bookstore. While I was trying to pay, the cashier was interrupted by a phone call and she made me wait while she went to the shelves. She pulled  the last two English copies of the document off the shelf and put them on her desk.

Msgr. Georg Ganswein, the pope’s personal secretary, told reporters the document would help Obama understand the church’s reasoning behind its efforts to protect human life at every stage of its development.

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26 Responses to Pope gives Obama bioethics document

  1. Dan says:

    WOW so Pope Bendict did not talk about ‘Peace’ and common ground exclusive. Good for him. God bless Pope Benedict!

  2. Tracy W says:

    I love it! I can imagine the pope/professor telling the president as he gives it to him, “Your assignment is to read this, study it, know it inside and out. There will be a pop quiz sometime next week, be ready and bring a #2 pencil”.

  3. Patrick says:

    It’s so great to have such a wonderfully talented wordsmith Pope. We are so blessed and so fortunate to have him be our voice and the voice of those silent within the womb.

  4. Michael Jaffray King says:

    What a wonderful and timely gift. Like so many have said “Thank God for such a wonderful Pope!!”
    I am sure Obama will read it and as we say the Rosary for the intention of President Obama’s ongoing conversion, I am sure our Heavenly Mother will make sure that he understands and will change his opinions and views.

  5. Heidi says:

    What an absolutely perfect thing to do. I see the hand of God in this one. Now,let’s pray that Obama reads it. And, changes him.

  6. Susan A. Rotondi says:

    Yes, yes, yes!

  7. Stephen Gallacher says:

    A neat diplomatic trick. Well done Pope Benedict. The intent of the message will not be lost on Obama or the rest of the world, however the test of long term value will be the degree to which Obama is changed as a consequence of reading it, if he bothers to.

  8. Grace M Alvarez says:

    It’s a small step, but a giant moment! The Holy Father used his (and the President’s) precious time to give a Catholic / Christian point of view on God’s purpose for mankind. God Bless Pope Benedict XVI and grace the president with an open heart.
    Pray, Pray, Pray then Pray again!

  9. Carol Grivett says:

    Thanks be to God for our wonderful Pope Benedict. We are truly blessed to have him shepherding our “lost sheep”. Dei Gratias.

  10. Eric says:

    I’m very happy that the Pope met with President Obama. I wonder why no one is complaining about the Pope meeting with the President, after all the silly criticism of Notre Dame hosting President Obama.

  11. Dan says:

    Meeting sounds great, we will all pray for good fruit—now the work begins?

    ‘The former lieutenant governor of Maryland began her column, titled “Without a Doubt: Why Barack Obama represents American Catholics better than the pope does,” with the context of the pope’s upcoming meeting with the American president, and how it was “much anticipated and in some circles frowned upon by American Catholics in the wake of Obama’s controversial Notre Dame commencement speech in May.” She then laid out her central thesis about these two leaders: “In truth, though, Obama’s pragmatic approach to divisive policy…and his social-justice agenda reflect the views of American Catholic laity much more closely than those vocal bishops and pro-life activists…[T]hey’ll politely disagree about reproductive freedoms and homosexuality, but Catholics back home won’t care, because they know Obama’s on their side. In fact, Obama’s agenda is closer to their views than even the pope’s.” ‘

  12. Emordi Emmanuel says:

    Yes at this time the Church has a conservative Pope as the head to put God’s affair into the mind of the people. Your Holiness, if through out your Life here on earth and this is the one thing remembered of you. I tell you even the unborn Children and the aborted ones will thank God for the wonder of your Being.
    Lord, you have promised to be with us till the end of time. Bless the Church and guide the place of Peter (the Pope) with your Holy Spirit Amen.

  13. Franklin Jennings says:


    The Pope isn’t making him a doctor.

    I wonder how people can post such silly tripe, personally.

  14. Steven says:

    That’s our Holy Father! Pope Benedict reminds me of so many great Popes before him, particularly Pope Gregory VII, as both are amazing leaders; both put secular leaders in their place :p

  15. JLinn says:

    It wasn’t silly criticism, Eric, and Notre Dame did not just host President Obama, but honored him, disobeying the U.S. bishops and scandalising American Catholics.

    Anyway, I suppose someone somewhere is complaining about the absolute monarch of Vatican City State giving an audience to the head of state of the most powerful nation on earth. People like to complain, after all. But there was no reason why Christ’s Vicar on earth should not see an important leader like Barack Obama, no matter how morally offensive are various of his policies. The president wasn’t going there to get a medal and give a speech: he was going there because God wanted the Successor of St. Peter to evangelise him (well, maybe that’s not what the president thought why he went to see the pope, but that was the real reason).

  16. Jim Lackey says:

    Just a reminder that we will not approve comments that include name-calling or other derisive material. Engaging each other is acceptable and to be expected, but let’s not stray into territory that even Jesus wouldn’t tolerate. (That was not a comment on any of the above comments, just one that just now wasn’t approved.)

  17. AUGUSTINE, Statesboro, GA says:

    Surely, Obama did not receive any honors from the Pope. An honorary doctorate degree from a Catholic University is much more honorable than being honorably hosted by the Vicar of Christ.

    I am very sure that the document the Pope gave President Obama was not only on abortion, it also discusses poverty, economic well being, human rights and social justice. Well, we could say that abortion is much more important than all these. It does not matter if people (women, children, and adult men) are dying as a result of the problems asociated with these other issues as long as abortion remains the focus.

    I believe Obama will read the book. I also believe it will touch his life for good, no matter how long it takes.

  18. Dan says:

    Good point Jim however even The Son of The Living God got pretty upset sometimes too—remember the story of ‘the money changers’? Granted Jesus did not combat his enemies with derisive comments and name-calling….but we are not God and sometimes the ability to craft the perfect retort to a ‘needler’ escapes me/us. Oh, there I go again. Thanks for being there to catch these slips.

  19. Sammie says:

    The problem with this overture is, Berry Soetoro (aka Obama) will not recognize this as a valid book or document. He will, instead, look at it as the ramblings of a white dominated organization that he has no connection with either morally or philosophically. A man void of spiritual understanding who is devoid of spiritually or morality who will not read or hear the word of God, as Christianity believes in it, will see this as another book to add to a collection that he will put on the shelf to gather dust. …

  20. Sahib Cisse says:

    The Pop isn’t perfect either otherwise he won’t apologize for many of his mistakes. I think Obama is intelligent enough to understand how important the gift he received is. I believe he will honor the book, and will read it carefully to understand the content. All that I read from you folks are just negative assumption and characteristic of your blind belief in the true nature of God. You seem to self-proclaiming as good Christian. But, are you really? Think about what going on in your heart and mind when you were writing about Obama. You know what? God knows what in there, and will judge you accordingly. So. let’s be objective. Obama did not encourage the killing of Babies, and he is not gilty of any slave trade or inquisition in the name of God. He is leaving the decision to the Doctors and the Babies mothers and their relatives. Hatred and lack respect for others is not spiritual at all.

  21. Knowing the name of God doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is on the right track towards how God wants us to live. That is even the reason why most people don’t see the importance of preserving a newly formed life in the womb of a mother to be. What our dear beloved Pope has done is a very important step for letting the world to know what is the Catholic Church’s stand towards the un-born. May God bestow him with Graces so as to lead his flock to greener pastures.

  22. Tony in Central PA says:

    I knew my faith in the Pope was well – founded. He’s too orthodox and too smart to be used by some politician, even when that politician is the President of the US.

  23. RC says:

    i do wish the Pope would not have honored Obama and Michelle as he did…i wish he would have made sure they understood that Obama’s repeal of the laws by Bush restricting abortion and late term abortion was not accepted…instead the Pope whom i do love made for phot ops with the Obama’s giving the world the wrong impression…Obama is killing children before they are born and the Pope let him slide…

  24. Michael Jaffray King says:

    Please let’s try and remember that Prayer is powerful. If we would pray as much as we debate the World could well be a different and better place. Just like any leader Obama needs our prayers. Thy will be done could be a good starting point. God has a perfect plan for Obama and me and you. Let’s pray that we can accomplish His will in our lives. None of us could do better than God’s will??? Part of His will is to pray for our leaders. That point is certain. Prayer really changes things!!! Have you noticed that??? GBY KGFG!

  25. Nwaeze McGerald Chimezie says:

    I just feel that we should be praying for God to touch whatever decision Obama’s going to make rather than believe that he wont even look at the book…i think thats a bit too pessimistic

  26. John Stav says:

    “Do not cast pearls before swine; they will trample them”.

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