Who Asked What of the President?

07/03/2009 Comment

The buzz on the Internet seems to be interested in what questions were asked of the president at his meeting with members of the Catholic press and who asked them.

Given the press’ recent grilling of White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, it should be known that the questions were not prepackaged.

Here’s a rundown on who asked what ...

Joe Feuerherd of the National Catholic Reporter, who was sitting on the president’s right, asked the first question.

He asked, “Outside of your partisan political opponents — the Republicans — there’s one group that has also been critical of you in perhaps harsh ways — a number of American U.S. bishops. Is there a point where if you keep...READ MORE

Filed under catholic press, obama, questions

President to Catholic Press: On the Middle East

07/02/2009 Comment

President Obama wrapped up his interview with the Catholic press with a question on the Middle East and how his administration plans to address the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

“We have been very clear that we think settlements should stop ...,” said the president. “On the other hand, it’s not just the problem of Israeli settlements. The Palestinians have a set of obligations, some of which the Palestinian Authority have met, some of which they have not been as strong on. We want to encourage them to clamp down on violence, to end the incitement that you still hear, unfortunately, in many Palestinian communities.”

He also cited the role of neighboring Arab states in normalizing...READ MORE

Filed under catholic press, israel, middle east, obama, palestine, west bank

President to Catholic Press: On Homosexual Rights

07/02/2009 Comment

In response to a question about statements made by those affiliated with the president’s administration, President Obama offered his position on homosexual rights with regard to the Church.

“For the gay and lesbian community in this country, I think it’s clear that they feel victimized in fairly powerful ways and they’re often hurt by not just certain teachings of the Catholic Church, but the Christian faith generally,” said the president. “And as a Christian, I’m constantly wrestling with my faith and my solicitude and regard and concern for gays and lesbians.”

“To the extent that I weighed into these debates, what I often discover is that there’s a lot of heat and sound and fury on both...READ MORE

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President to Catholic Press: On Conscience Protection

07/02/2009 Comments (1)

We reported earlier on the president’s meeting with the Catholic press and his promise regarding conscience-clause protection. For his exact words on the subject, read on.

“I think that the only reason that my position may appear unclear is because it came in the wake of a last-minute, 11th-hour change in conscience clause provisions that were pushed forward by the previous administration that we chose to reverse,” said President Obama. “But my underlying position has always been consistent, which is I’m a believer in conscience clauses. I was a supporter of a robust conscience clause in Illinois for Catholic hospitals and health-care providers. I discussed with Cardinal George when he was...READ MORE

Filed under catholic press, conscience, conscience protection, conscience rights, obama

President to Catholic Press: On Church Attendance

07/02/2009 Comment

In response to a question from The Washington Post regarding finding a home church, President Obama had this to say:

“Michelle and I decided that we would wait a few months after arriving before we made a decision on this, partly — let’s be blunt: I mean, we were pretty affected by what happened at Trinity and the controversy surrounding Reverend Wright,” said the president. “That was deeply disturbing to us, and it was disappointing for us personally. It made us very sensitive to the fact that as president the church we attend can end up being interpreted as speaking for us at all times. We were also mindful of the fact that the times that we have attended church here, everybody who...READ MORE

Filed under catholic press, church, obama

President to Catholic Press: On the Catholic Divide

07/02/2009 Comment

The divide in practicing versus non-practicing Catholic voters (Gallup).

– Gallup

Another questioner asked the president if he felt as if he had been dragged into a longtime family feud among Catholics, liberal and conservative.

For the second time during the discussion, President Obama mentioned the influence of Cardinal Bernardin.

“When I was first becoming interested in social justice issues, the American bishops were talking about nuclear freezes and sanctuary for illegal immigrants and protesting U.S. policy in Latin America,” said the president. “And there was, I think, a very different set of perspectives that were represented, arising out of the Second Vatican [Council]. And then there was a decided shift that I think took place within — among Church...READ MORE

Filed under cardinal bernardin, catholic press, obama

President Obama to Catholic Press: On Abortion

07/02/2009 Comment
Official White House photo by Lawrence Jackson

President Barack Obama holds a roundtable briefing with Catholic press in the Roosevelt Room July 2, 2009. (Official White House photo by Lawrence Jackson)

– Official White House photo by Lawrence Jackson

During the course of the Catholic press interview of President Obama, Paul Baumann of Commonweal magazine asked the president about the forthcoming report on efforts to seek common ground on abortion.

“What are your realistic hopes for this group?” asked Baumann.

The president responded that the group has met, received a range of perspectives, gathered comments, and will deliver a memo to the president sometime soon.

“I’ve never been under the illusion that there are going to be ... that we were going to simply talk all our differences away on these issues,” said the president. “Again, I acknowledged this in the Notre Dame speech. I think there’s a irreducible difference, conflict, on...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, catholic press, obama

President Promises Robust Conscience Protection

07/02/2009 Comment
(Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Barack Obama holds a roundtable briefing July 2 in the Roosevelt Room with Catholic press, including Register publisher Father Owen Kearns (left foreground).

– (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

In a 47-minute meeting in the White House’s Roosevelt Room, eight members of the press, most of whom represented Catholic publications, met with President Obama this morning.

In addition to Father Owen Kearns, editor in chief and publisher of the Register, those attending were representatives from America, Avvenire/Vatican Radio, Catholic News Service, Catholic Digest, Commonweal, National Catholic Reporter and The Washington Post.

Obama began with brief remarks and then gave each representative the opportunity to ask one question.

In his remarks, the president said that he had a wonderful conversation with Pope Benedict XVI right after his election. He said that he sees his visit with...READ MORE

Filed under catholic press, conscience protection, immigration reform, obama, pope benedict xvi

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About Tim Drake

Tim Drake
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Tim Drake is an award-winning writer and former journalist and radio host with the National Catholic Register/EWTN. He currently serves as New Evangelization Coordinator for the Holdingford Area Catholic Community in the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota. He resides with his wife and five children in St. Joseph, Minn.