George Weigel's column on the president's upcoming visit with Pope Francis is a must-read. Beware the White House spin preceding and following the tete a tete. Of course the beleaguered Obama would love some of the people's reflected glory. Watch as the White House tries to gloss over the clear message from the Vatican about how the HHS contraception mandate endangers the religious liberty of American Catholics. Also this tidbit about the Italian press corps (formerly infatuated with Barack Obama):
There is a surprising amount of skepticism about this papal-presidential encounter in much of the Roman press corps. In November 2008, the huge magazine kiosk near Rome’s Largo Argentina tram stop was filled with journals from all over the world, the vast majority of their covers displaying messianic portraits of Barack Obama, looking out into the empyrean as if reflecting on his descent from a higher plane of existence. The bloom is very much off that rose, especially among the Anglophone scribes in the city, whatever their tendency to fall into White House spin traps on occasion. And while the Italian press can be counted on to dramatize anything, one senses very little giddiness in the rest of their colleagues as they await President Obama’s second visit to the Vatican. Messianic hopes, frustrated, tend to lead to dampened expectations.