This week, President Barack Obama visited the Vatican for the second time during his presidency, the first meeting with Pope Francis. He took the Pope a gift of fruit and vegetable seeds from the White House garden. The Pope in return gave the President a copy of last year's apostolic exhortation Evangelli Gaudium ("The Joy of the Gospel"). The document offers criticism of public leaders who work against the pro-life message.
In it, the Pope wrote, "This defense of unborn life is closely linked to the defense of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and invioble, in any situation and in any stage of development."
LifeSiteNews.com reports that according to a Vatican press release, "the pope launched a discussion with the American president about the proper role of church and state, raising 'questions of particular relevance for the [Catholic] Church in that country.' These included 'the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life, and conscientious objection.'"
This comes the same week that the United States Supreme Court is hearing agruments in the case of Hobby Lobby and the Obamacare contraceptive mandate. The Pope again expressed his concerns that the Obamacare mandate forces Catholics to violate their religious beliefs.