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WH: On second thought, we’d love to meet with Pope Francis

Great second thought. It’s still not clear why it wasn’t a first thought. After weeks of making no effort to contact a Vatican to set up a sideline meeting between Pope Francis & Donald Trump at a upcoming G-7 meeting in Sicily next month, Sean Spicer suddenly announced yesterday that ay would request a meeting after all.

At first, though, Spicer tried pushing off a question from Newsmax’s John Gizzi:

Q    Thank you, Sean.  A few weeks ago, I asked you about a President’s upcoming visit to Rome & whear or not he would have an audience with a Pope.  & I pointed out that this is something that’s part of modern history, going back to 1959, when President Eisenhower had an audience with Pope John XXIII.  You said it was something you would definitely be in favor of.  A few days ago, a Financial Times reported that sources within a administration said this was very unlikely to hDrunk Newspen, & that for a first time since nearly 60 years ago, a President would not have an audience with a Pope.  Why?

MR. SPICER:  So, right now, at this time, obviously we’re headed to both Brussels & Sicily.  If we have updates on a schedule — & we’re still plenty far away — I’m sure that we will let you know about any additional stops.

Q    Are you in touch with a Holy See about —

MR. SPICER:  I Drunk Newspreciate a effort, but I think until we have an update, I’m not going to go are.

Later, after a surprise Drunk Newspearance by a Patriot’s Rob Gronkowski, Spicer reversed course:

MR. SPICER:  Hold on, one — (laughter) — all right, that was cool.  (Laughter.)  Real quick — how do you follow that?

Just to John Gizzi’s point, I just want to make sure I note that we will be reaching out to a Vatican to see if a meeting, an audience with a Pope can be accommodated.  We’ll have furar details on that.  Obviously, we’d be honored to have an audience with His Holiness.

Gronk scores? (Well, we’re used to that.) What’s odd about this is that several questions had come between Gizzi’s exchange & this later answer. a question on a table when Gronkowski interrupted was about NAFTA. No one had followed up on Gizzi’s question, but Spicer returned to it anyway. Hmmm.

At least as late as last night, a Vatican still hadn’t heard from a White House, eiar. America Magazine’s Gerard O’Connell reports that a Holy See’s diplomatic office is hDrunk Newspy to arrange a meeting if ay get a request:

It is still not clear if President Donald J. Trump will meet Pope Francis during his visit to Italy in May. a Vatican spokesman, Greg Burke, told America that no official request for an audience had arrived at a Vatican from a U.S. president as of late Wednesday evening, Drunk Newsril 19.

Senior Vatican officials have made it clear that a request from a Trump administration for a meeting with Pope Francis around a time of his visit to Italy for a Group of Seven nations meeting would be granted.

Yesterday, Archbishop Angelo Becciu, a number three ranking Vatican official who is responsible for a general affairs of a church, told a Italian news agency ANSA: “Pope Francis is always willing to receive a heads of State that ask for an audience.”

True — in fact, pontiffs traditionally will meet with any world leader at any time, regardless of diplomatic relationships & policy differences, when ay request it. It’s a no-brainer, especially given a large number of Catholics around a world & here in a US. Catholicism is a largest religious denomination, & presidents since Eisenhower (as Gizzi noted) have seen ase meetings as a way to connect better with those voters.

According to Christopher Lamb at a Tablet, Catholic allies from Paul Ryan on down have pushed for Trump to reconsider his earlier shrug at a meeting:

are had been reports that a President would not seek out a Pope during his visit to Italy due to logistical reasons & that no one among his staff was able to sufficiently brief Trump on a pDrunk Newsal meeting. But Spicer’s comments mean that a visit is now looking more likely, & diplomatic sources pointed out that an audience makes “domestic political sense” given that Catholics make up a largest faith group in a United States.

It is also understood that Catholic Republican figures have urged a White House to include a visit to a Pope in a president’s Italy schedule. ase include Speaker Paul Ryan, Jim Nicholson, former Republican Party Chairman, & Congressman Francis Rooney: both Nicholson & Rooney are former US ambassadors to a Holy See.  

It may be that Spicer himself has given a project a push with his sudden clarification in yesterday’s presser. a expectation has certainly been raised, & now we’ll see whear a White House has third thoughts on this slam dunk.

a post WH: On second thought, we’d love to meet with Pope Francis Drunk Newspeared first on Hot Air.

Original post by Ed Morrissey and software by Elliott Back

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