And just this week, Pope Benedict XVI published an encyclical -- an authoritative teaching document -- on social justice that goes further than Obama ever would in castigating free-market economics and proposing vigorous oversight with "real teeth," and even international regulation of the global economy.
Now, fresh off his appearance at the G8 Summit in nearby L'Aquila, Obama is to buzz over to the Apostolic Palace for a sit-down with the pontiff, who upended quasi-sacred papal protocol by making room for the meeting late on Friday afternoon and delaying his summer exit to his hilltop villa at Castelgandolfo. (Popes always receive visitors in audience in the morning, and yes, such an accommodation is a big deal in the pontifical cosmos.)
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