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July 7, 2009

Pope greets Hope... when popes and presidents meet, great things can happen

"... all I can do is to affirm how that other tradition [Catholicism] has made me, a non-Catholic, ... reflect on how I can be a better person and has had a powerful influence on my life. And that tells me that it might be a powerful way to move a broader set of values forward in American life generally."
- President Barack Obama, Media  Roundtable on his upcoming meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, July 2, 2009
Dear Friends,

Thank you to the thousands of you across the country and around the world who have signed the Letter of Solidarity with President Obama and Pope Benedict XVI in support of Joe Feuerherd and Pres Obama ADJtheir historic meeting this Friday.

The importance of this meeting to the administration became even more evident last Thursday when President Obama met with eight reporters, all but one of them representing Catholic media outlets.  In the next four days, media attention will only increase not just because of the significance of the meeting between these two pivotal world leaders but also because the Vatican will release Pope Benedict's new encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, today.

Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth) will be the first social encyclical in almost eighteen years, the last one issued by Pope John Paul II in 1991.  That document, Centesimus Annus, commemorated the 100th anniversary of Rerum Novarum (Of New Things), the encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 that is considered a foundational document of Catholic Social Teaching.  Caritas in Veritate commemorates Pope Paul VI's 1967 encyclical Populorum Progressio (Development of Peoples) that addressed the moral dimensions of global economic inequalities between rich and poor.

It has been reported that the encyclical will address globalization and the need for a new paradigm for the global economic system.  In February, the pope said, "The financial and economic crisis clearly shows that certain economic financial paradigms that have been dominant in the past years must be rethought."  For a preview of the encyclical, see analyses by Thomas J. Reese, S.J. in the Washington Post and John L. Allen Jr. in the National Catholic Reporter.

As the media attention builds in the next week, we can expect that both the meeting and the encyclical will draw increasing scrutiny from the Right.  They will attempt to make this meeting all about abortion - which should, and will, undoubtedly be discussed - but at the expense of other issues such as food, water, and health care as fundamental human rights.  Additionally, those on the Right will be making the argument, as a conservative columnist did recently, that our current capitalistic system - in this age of globalization - is serving the best interests of the poor.  This astounding assertion was made even though world hunger is at record levels and we are in the midst of a global economic crisis.

So we are asking you to help us again during the final four days of our campaign to show your support for the pope and president.
  • Please forward this e-mail to your friends and family.  We have received many emails from people around the globe who have thanked us for the opportunity to sign the Letter of Solidarity.  It is easy to do by clicking on this button: Forward to a Friend
  • Please consider a donation to Catholic Democrats, which will help us cover the costs of this campaign, including the cost of our media efforts, advertising, and Web site.
  • Pray for the pope and the president and ask your parish to include them in the prayers of the faithful at daily mass this week.  Please let us know the outcome of your efforts.
With our thanks for your continued support,

Patrick Whelan
Suzanne Morse
Lisa Schare
Steve Krueger

PS Visit the Pope Greets Hope Web site and read Dr. Patrick Whelan's blog postings from Vatican City where he is visiting this week.  He'll be sharing his thoughts and impressions, bringing you closer to the historic events this week in the Eternal City.  Share this with your friends and post the link to your Facebook page.