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... what would they say? America magazine put that question, and four others, to the two men via e-mail:

AM: If you had five minutes with the pope, what would you say to him?

JRB:  I had the great honor last year of visiting with Pope Benedict at the Vatican, and we had a wide-ranging discussion on many matters. It would be inappropriate of me to discuss that private conversation. But I was impressed by his openness and insights. If we had a chance to meet again, I’d like to hear more about his recent trip to Lebanon, his thoughts about the Arab Spring and his concerns about religious intolerance. In addition to matters of war and peace, I’d like the chance to discuss some of the issues confronting our church around the world and in America. ...

AM:  If you had five minutes with the pope, what would you say to him?

PR:  I would humbly ask him for his prayers for the well-being of the people of our nation without exception.

Also interesting:

AM: What in your life as a U.S. politician has caused the greatest conflict for you as a Catholic? How have you resolved that conflict?

JRB : In my life, raised by a devout Irish Catholic mother, schooled by nuns and priests, and practicing my faith all these years, my faith has not caused me conflict, but has given me grounding.

It has informed my politics in a way that nothing else has. Catholic social doctrine has been the principle that has guided the votes and positions I have taken throughout my career, on issues from anti-poverty programs to violence against women, to the criminal justice system, to international relations. ...

AM: What in your life as a U.S. politician has caused the greatest conflict for you as a Catholic? How have you resolved that conflict?

PR: Frankly, I have never had a serious conflict of conscience as a Catholic in politics. The reason for this is that I have come to recognize that my obligations as a Catholic are in agreement with my political obligations under our Constitution. It can sometimes be frustrating when certain policies or laws are inconsistent with moral truth as well as I can understand it. But the greatest reason America remains an exceptional country is that we the people still govern ourselves in freedom—which means that policies in conflict with our moral principles can be changed through the election process, as we are about to witness once again on Nov. 6.

Read the entire piece on the America magazine website.

 
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Carl E. Olson editor@catholicworldreport.com

Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight.
 
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