However, it’s hard to understand why the Obama administration has
not requested a papal meeting only weeks before the president’s trip to
Italy. Heads of state have schedules to keep.

And the pope, head of the Vatican City State, is leaving Rome for his scheduled vacation a few days after Obama arrives.

The Holy See’s press office announced today that Pope
Benedict XVI will leave for vacation in northern Italy from July 13-29,
without knowing if President Barack Obama, who will be in Italy for the
G8 summit, will formally request an audience with the Pope.

From Monday, July 13 to Wednesday, July 29, the Pope will spend
vacation time at Les Combes di Introd, in the northwestern Italian
province of Valle d’Aosta.

On July 19, the Pope will visit the town of Romano Canavese in the
diocese of Ivrea, where he will preside over the Angelus prayer.  On
Sunday, July 26, he will visit the town of Les Combes, also praying the
Angelus there.

The general audiences of Wednesday 15, 22 and 29 will be suspended.

President Obama will travel to Italy to attend the G8 summit in the
Italian town of L’Aquila, July 8-10, but he will reside at the U.S.
embassy in Rome. The Vatican has not yet been contacted by the White
House for a possible meeting between the President and Pope Benedict
XVI.

The Obama administration is proficient at keeping a disciplined and
well-executed schedule, as well as precise communications channels. Is
this an oversight, an afterthought, or….a calculated ordering of
priorities?

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....