On the day Cardinal George and the Catholic bishops started their push for conscience rights, Cardinal Francis George met with President Obama.

In his earlier video statement, Cardinal George uses strong language about Obama’s opposition to conscientious objector rights for health-care workers, saying it “could be the first step in moving our country from democracy to despotism.”

The USCCB issued this statement about Cardinal George’s previously unannounced meeting with Obama this afternoon. (So far, I’ve only found the statement at the St. Lous Post-Dispatch)

“WASHINGTON-Cardinal Francis George, OMI, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, met at the White House with President Barack Obama during the afternoon of March 17.

“The meeting was private. Cardinal George and President Obama discussed the Catholic Church in the United States and its relation to the new administration. The meeting lasted approximately 30 minutes.

“At the conclusion, Cardinal George expressed his gratitude for the meeting and his hopes that it will foster fruitful dialogue for the sake of the common good.

“George had released a statement Monday urging the Obama administration to ‘regulations governing conscience protections for health-care workers.’”