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Hobby Lobby’s Green family meets with Pope Francis

Pope Francis met Monday (March 31) with members of the Green family, the Oklahoma billionaires whose company, Hobby Lobby, took their challenge to Obama's contraception mandate to the Supreme Court last week. Pictured here, Steve Green greets Pope Francis during the meeting. Photo courtesy of Demoss

(RNS) Days after discussing the U.S. Catholic bishops’ fight over contraception with President Obama, Pope Francis met Monday (March 31) with members of the Green family, the Oklahoma billionaires whose company, Hobby Lobby, took their challenge to Obama’s contraception mandate to the Supreme Court last week.

Pope Francis met Monday (March 31) with members of the Green family, the Oklahoma billionaires whose company, Hobby Lobby, took their challenge to Obama's contraception mandate to the Supreme Court last week. Pictured here, Steve Green greets Pope Francis during the meeting. Photo courtesy of Demoss

Pope Francis met Monday (March 31) with members of the Green family, the Oklahoma billionaires whose company, Hobby Lobby, took their challenge to Obama’s contraception mandate to the Supreme Court last week. Pictured here, Steve Green greets Pope Francis during the meeting. Photo courtesy of Demoss

The pope met with Obama on Thursday for the first time, touching on some hot-button disputes between the White House and U.S. Catholic bishops.

A Vatican statement after the meeting said that the two men talked about issues including “the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection,” a veiled reference to Obama’s disputes with the American bishops (and the Green family) over the administration’s contraception mandate under Obamacare.

Obama later downplayed the contraception discussions with Francis, telling reporters that he and the pope didn’t spend much time on “social schisms.” He said he and the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, discussed “briefly the issue of making sure that conscience and religious freedom was observed in the context of applying the law.”

The Greens are in Rome for the launch of one of their traveling exhibits, “Verbum Domini II” (Latin for “The Word of the Lord”).

“The purpose of the meeting was to thank the pope for the loan of items to the exhibit from the Vatican museum and library,” said Jennifer Sheran of DeMoss, the Atlanta public relations firm that represents the Greens. “The pope did ask how the (Hobby Lobby) case was progressing.”

Eighteen members of the Green family met with the pope, Sheran said, as well as 10 members from the American Bible Society. The meeting lasted 30 minutes.

The exhibit located at the Braccio di Carlo Magno museum runs April 2 to June 22 and includes 200 ancient and rare biblical texts and artifacts. The head of the Museum of the Bible, which oversees the Green collection traveling exhibits, also joined the gathering with the pope.

This is the second time items from the Green Collection have been on display in Vatican City. Their first display appeared during Lent and Easter season in 2012, but Pope Benedict XVI was traveling during the Greens’ visit.

KRE/AMB END BAILEY

About the author

Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Sarah Pulliam Bailey is a national correspondent for RNS, covering how faith intersects with politics, culture and other news. She previously served as online editor for Christianity Today where she remains an editor-at-large.

20 Comments

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  • It is truly wonderful to see Evangelicals and Catholics who take the Word of God seriously working together to evangelize for Christ. If there was ever a time we need each other, it is now.

  • Take the word of God seriously? Condemn homosexuality because of Leviticus but ignore the command in Leviticus to kill adulterers of both sexes and fornicators of only one sex? How serious is that?

  • Gawd the Pope is easily bribed.

    Throw some valuable art under his nose and suddenly you become important enough for his time. The Greens are trying to buy their way into heaven.

    Isn’t there something in the Bible about that? Something about a camel passing through the eye of a needle perhaps? 🙂

  • I’m all for people being able to exercise their religion. That’s why I opposed neighbors wishing to silence the Baptist church on the corner during holy week, and their complaints that Good Friday services might violate some ordinance on amplified speaking and singing. I really don’t care for it when they complain my medical choices impact their religion. Christian Scientists may feel that prayer is plenty of medical treatment for e everyone, but we still require them to pay taxes to support public hospitals. The Greens are hypocrites.

  • Last I heard, the Southern Baptists were trying to convert Mormons. Are they now trying to convert the Pope? Makes sense to start at the top, I guess.

  • So. Baptists and Catholics have much in common. They both are on the religious, self-focused spirituality ladder trying to improve their status before God.

    Not necessary.

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