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In a private Papal conference today, Pope Benedict met with President Barack Obama for about 40 minutes, then gifted him “a booklet explaining Vatican opposition to practices such as abortion and embryonic stem cell research” and informed Obama he would pray for him:

The pope gave Obama, who last March lifted restrictions of federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research, a copy of a recent Vatican document on bio-ethics in which the Holy See explains it opposition to such practices.

. . . He also gave the president a copy of his latest encyclical, “Charity in Truth,” which called for a “world political authority” to manage the global economy and for more government regulation of national economies to pull the world out of the current crisis and avoid a repeat.

. . . Obama, who was going to the airport from the Vatican, joked to the pope when he gave him the two documents: “I’ll have something to read on the plane.”

In other news, my grandmother has recently been elected Pope. If my adolescence is any indication, Obama has plenty more goodies in store for him, including a half-dozen hand-copied Bible verses urging him to repent, a couple bookmarks depicting the heavens openeth-ing, and culminating in a four-part VHS miniseries on the life of Jesus Christ on his graduation from high school. I’m pretty sure she has that gold shawl, too.

Photo by Beyond Forgetting