President Obama will meet this week with Pope Francis whose turn toward the poor and toward reconciliation rather than denunciation has revived interest in the Catholic Church. The Times reports that when he was a young community organizer he did that work on a church grant. He has stayed closer to that mission than is often recognized. Unlike the censorious Catholic law profs at Mirror of Justice, Obama like Francis recognizes the mission to help the weak as central to his work. That is why he retains the support of the Coalition of American Nuns. They back his mandate of contraceptive benefits without cost sharing - unlike the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The bishops adhere to the anti-birth control orthodoxy even though Catholics in the advanced countries have largely spurned the Church's teachings on sexuality.- gwc
The Catholic Roots of Obama’s Activism - NYTimes.com: by Jason Horowitz
"CHICAGO — In a meeting room under Holy Name Cathedral, a rapt group of black Roman Catholics listened as Barack Obama, a 25-year-old community organizer, trained them to lobby their fellow delegates to a national congress in Washington on issues like empowering lay leaders and attracting more believers.
“He so quickly got us,” said Andrew Lyke, a participant in the meeting who is now the director of the Chicago Archdiocese’s Office for Black Catholics. The group succeeded in inserting its priorities into the congress’s plan for churches, Mr. Lyke said, and “Barack Obama was key in helping us do that.”By the time of that session in the spring of 1987, Mr. Obama — himself not Catholic — was already well known in Chicago’s black Catholic circles. He had arrived two years earlier to fill an organizing position paid for by a church grant, and had spent his first months here surrounded by Catholic pastors and congregations. In this often overlooked period of the president’s life, he had a desk in a South Side parish and became steeped in the social justice wing of the church, which played a powerful role in his political formation."
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