Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obama has first telephone conversation with the Pope

Richard Owen in Rome
Times Online
November 12, 2008

It has emerged that US President-elect Barack Obama held his first telephone conversation with Pope Benedict XVI yesterday, the day a senior Vatican official made clear the Holy See would oppose any changes by Mr Obama in US policy on embryonic stem cell research.

The Vatican said the conversation on Tuesday formed part of the "normal exchanges" between a new American President and other world leaders. Father Federico Lombardi, the Pope's spokesman, said neither the Pope nor Mr Obama had made any reference to the stem cell issue during the call, in which Mr Obama had responded to the Pope's message congratulating him on his election win.

At a press conference on Tuesday the Vatican on infant mortality, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan of Mexico, the Pope's "health minister", strongly reiterated the Vatican's opposition to using embryos for research purposes when asked about signs that Mr Obama might reverse or relax the Bush administration's executive order banning the use of embryos and limiting federal spending for stem cell research. He said embryonic stem cell research "served no purpose". the rest

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