Pope Benedict XVI will welcome U.S. President Barack Obama to the Vatican July 10 for an audience scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
Obama will visit Italy July 8-10 to participate in the Group of
Eight summit, a meeting of leaders of the world’s wealthiest nations.
The meeting will be held in L’Aquila, site of a devastating earthquake
After the G-8 summit, the president and his wife, Michelle, are scheduled to fly to Ghana, arriving late July 10.
Although Pope Benedict usually meets heads of state and government
in the morning, the Vatican agreed to host Obama’s first visit to the
papal palace the evening before he flies to Africa.
It is not clear whether Miguel Diaz, a theology professor tapped by
Obama to be the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, will be present
for the meeting.
Pro-lifers were dismayed at the pick as Diaz numbered
among a group of dissident Catholics, including Pepperdine law
professor Doug Kmiec, who signed a letter supporting Obama’s nomination
of the deeply pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius to head the Department of
Health and Human Services.
Even with the pick for ambassador to the Vatican, Obama cannot add a pro-life voice to his administration.
The buzz around Vatican watchers in the media was that no ambassador
would be in place in time to pave the way for a meeting before the pope
left Rome for the summer. But you just knew that it would happen.
This will be interesting. If anyone on the world stage can outweight
Obama’s skills of oratory with the goods (the truth, the reason, the
finesse) to back up the words, it’s Benedict.