'Yes, Mr. President'

We're just about to put the July 17 issue to bed. But before we do, we thought you'd be interested in Editor Paul Baumann's account of last week's POTUS/Catholic press meeting--just posted to the homepage. It begins:

Apologies for the short notice, began the e-mail I received late in the afternoon on Tuesday, July 1. It was from the assistant press secretary for foreign affairs at the National Security Council, asking if I could meet with President Barack Obama Thursday morning for a roundtable in advance of his meeting with the pope in Rome.

Yes, I replied, yes I can. No apology necessary.

How many other reporters or editors would participate was not clear. As it turned out, there were eight of us, including the editors of America, the National Catholic Reporter, the National Catholic Register, and Catholic Digest. We gathered in a small press room in the West Wing of the White House before being taken to the Roosevelt Room adjacent to the Oval Office. Each of us would get to ask the president one question. In order to cover as much ground as possible, we divvied up topics beforehand. I volunteered to ask the abortion question. Americas Drew Chistiansen asked about cooperation between the Vatican and the administration on international issues. Patricia Zapor of Catholic News Service wanted to know about conscience clauses for Catholic health-care and social-service providers (Obama promised that conscience clauses would be at least as robust as they have been). This worked fairly well, and a lot of ground was covered.

Read the rest right here.

Grant Gallicho joined Commonweal as an intern and was an associate editor for the magazine until 2015. 

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Time served.

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