Photo Courtesy: White House

From News2Share Contributor and White House Commentator Jon-Christopher Bua:

There are now six Republican presidential candidates who are Roman Catholic: Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and George Pataki. The challenge for each one of them around the Pope Francis White House State Visit and his address to a Joint Session of Congress is displaying their respect for the Pope while confronting the moral dilemma of distinguishing between Papal infallibility on issues of faith and morals and the always tenuous issue of modern day partisan politics.

Those who remember first hand and those students of history will note that candidate
John F. Kennedy also had to find a delicate balance on the very same topic.

After mentioning Governor Chris Christie comments that.. “I just think the pope is wrong,” “The fact is that his infallibility is on religious matters, not on political ones.” I asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, if the President would be mindful of this fine line between Papal infallibility and US partisan politics during his discussions with Pope Francis.

Mr. Earnest responded by outlining a list of pressing topics that would lead the president’s agenda for discussion with Pope Francis in the Oval Office on Wednesday immediately following The Holy Father’s South Lawn State Arrival.

Full Transcript:

JC Q I have a couple — perhaps with a little humor, hopefully. There are six Republican candidates who are, in fact, Roman Catholic. The infallibility issue goes to faith and morals. Chris Christie said that the Pope should basically stay away from politics and stick with religion. Does the President believe that as well, that the Pope and Holy Father should basically focus on the teachings of the Church in terms of morality, et cetera, et cetera, and stay away from some of these issues? Is there a sensitivity there, is what I’m asking.

MR. EARNEST: Well, it was interesting to me to watch some of the candidates explain some of the differences that they themselves have promoted when it comes to their views and comparing them to the Pope. The President has taken a different approach, and the President’s approach is to welcome the Pope warmly to the United States and to eagerly anticipate and participate in a discussion about their shared values.

And there is so much about what Pope Francis has to say that is inclusive and that reflects the kind of personal commitment that Pope Francis has to a wide range of issues, particularly when it comes to social justice. And his eloquent expression of those values has inspired millions of people, not just here in the United States but around the world. And that’s why he’s deserving of such a warm welcome. And the President is looking forward to the opportunity to sit down with Pope Francis for a second time and to talk about many of those values that they have in common.

Again, there’s plenty of opportunity for others to inject politics into this situation. It certainly is a protected constitutional right of theirs to do that. But that’s not what the President is interested in.