The two important take-aways from David Gibson's brilliant article on the President's meeting with the Pope are:
(1) Love him or hate him, support or oppose his policies, think he's a disaster or a triumph, Barack Obama is an immensely skilled politician and you will always underestimate him at your peril..
(2) Catholics--even American Catholics--are not the pro-life voting monolith that social conservatives would like to believe they are.
Here's the tiniest snippet of an article you really should read in full:
For his part, Obama has been diligent in courting the Catholic vote, and there appears to be more than political maneuvering at work. Obama knows how to "talk Catholic," in the words of more than one participant at last week's White House meeting between Obama and a select group of Catholic journos from across the spectrum. At that meeting he cited the late Chicago cardinal, Joseph Bernardin, as an inspiration and he spoke easily about Bernadin's "seamless garment" approach to pro-life and social justice issues. He can talk theology and original sin (as he did at Notre Dame) and he knows that you address the pope as "Your Holiness" -- something it took George W. Bush a while to learn. (At a 2007 meeting with Benedict, President Bush made aides wince by repeatedly referring to the pope as "sir.")
As a Catholic who believes that a secular society should defend women's right to control their own bodies--including abortion--I found this article extremely interesting.