Pope Francis yesterday visited the community of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious order who are involved in a long legal battle challenging President Obama’s healthcare reform which is now heading for the Supreme Court.
The sisters have objected to the legal requirement that would mandate employers to provide contraception coverage as part of health insurance packages.
The United States’ bishops were also prominent critics of the reforms calling them an attack on religious liberty.
In a briefing to journalists Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, said the Pope had made the visit as a sign of his support of the sisters and the US’ bishops.
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Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, the President of the United States’ Bishops Conference, said the sisters “did not to sue anybody" but instead continue with their work of serving others in accordance with their beliefs.
Meanwhile, Fr Lombardi said that Pope Francis and President Obama met for a 43-minute private meeting but did not disclose details of the discussions. A separate meeting took place between delegations led by John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Holy See Secretary State.
Pope Francis shares a moment with the Little Sisters of the Poor (PA)
They discussed the removal of the Cuba trade embargo - which the Vatican has long opposed and the US has recently indicated it might soften its opposition over - and the Middle East and the refugee crisis.
Today Francis becomes the first Pope to address US Congress and later will head for New York on the next leg of his US visit.
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