Maybe the White House is finally figuring out the gift thing.
After raising eyebrows by giving Queen Elizabeth II an iPod and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown a stack of DVDs, President Obama gave Pope Benedict XVI something kind of cool, if not a little creepy: “a stole that had been placed on the remains of St. John Neumann, a 19th century Redemptorist and the first male naturalized US citizen to become a saint,” per AFP’s Laurent Lozano in his pool report.
He continues: “The Pope was to give the President a mosaic representing Saint Peter's square, an autographed copy of the encyclical ‘caritas in veritate,’ bound in white leather, and a pontifical medal.
“In front of the table where the gifts were displayed, POTUS was heard saying: ‘We'll find a place of honor for that’ (unclear what gift he was referring to). He also thanked the Pope for reading material for the flight to Ghana, in apparent reference to the Social Encyclical.”
The pope also gave Mr. Obama a document on bio-ethics called “Dignitas Personae,” which explains Vatican opposition to abortion and embryonic-stem-cell research, which the president supports.