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July 10, 2009

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

The meeting is about building relationships, and our president, President Obama, has demonstrated this equally deep thinking [like the pope] about very serious issues, and that he is someone who is not afraid to take on deep, serious issues which cause tension.
- Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Catholic Democrats press conference, July 9, 2009

I say to people all the time in Congress that hunger is a political condition. We can solve this problem, we can end hunger on this planet in my lifetime if we have the political will to do it. My hope is that the pope's moral leadership and his clear words in his encyclical can guide not only the United States but also the rest of the world to move in a different direction. I want our nation to be inspired by what the pope said.
- Congressman Jim McGovern, Catholic Democrats press conference, July 9, 2009
Dear Friends,

Last month, the United Nations reported that world hunger has reached record levels.  Today over 1 billion people - one sixth of the world's population - suffer from hunger, an increase of 11% from last year, that is attributable to the global economic crisis.

On Tuesday, Pope Benedict XVI issued the long awaited Pope and NCR Adsocial encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), that focuses on the injustices in the global economy.  It reminds us that economic decisions have moral consequences and calls us to rethink our global economic system.  It urges us to develop a system that is based on the values of 'Christian humanism' which will provide for the 'common good.'

Today,  President Obama and Pope Benedict XVI will meet.  They will have much to discuss.  Patrick Whelan, president of Catholic Democrats, who has been in Rome this week and had the opportunity to speak with members of the international media and Vatican representatives, describes the atmosphere of hope that is in the air.

Catholic Democrats launched a campaign in support of their historic meeting and the opportunity it presents.   Thousands of people have responded and signed a Letter of Solidarity with the President and the Pope.  However, in retrospect, we may have mislabeled the Letter.  For in reality, we are asking you to sign a Letter of Solidarity with the over 1 billion people who suffer from hunger; the laborers around the world who work in conditions that degrade their human dignity; and even people in the middle class who are sliding into poverty as a result of a failing global economy.  These people, our brothers and sisters, need our love and support.

When Popes and presidents meet, great things can happen.  Today's meeting will lay the groundwork for a relationship between President Obama and Pope Benedict that can make a profound difference in the lives of those who need our help the most.  President Obama has repeatedly reminded us that "we are our brother's keeper, we are our sister's keeper" and that we have to put those words into action, a belief that both the president and pope share.

We are asking you to join the thousands of other Catholics from the United States and around the world and sign the Letter of Solidarity, not only for the benefit of these two pivotal leaders whose wisdom the world needs at this time, but also for the billions of people suffering in our global community whom they are in a position to help.  In doing so, you will be sending a message that a meeting such as this can provide the impetus for creating new ways of viewing our world, the problems that confront us, and how we can serve the common good as a human family.

And if you can take a minute to sign the Letter, then we would also ask you to take another minute to forward it to three people you know.  It's easy to do, just click here: Forward to a Friend

Thank you in advance for lending your support to these efforts by signing the letter of solidarity and forwarding this email to your family, friends, and Catholic connections.

With our thanks for your continued support,

Patrick Whelan MD PhD
Suzanne Morse
Lisa Schare
Steve Krueger

PS  For a thoughtful and inspiring commentary on the meeting  from two U.S. Representatives - Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA), listen to the Catholic Democrats press conference today which is posted online.