July 10th, 2009
02:56 PM ET
13 years ago

President gives pope personal letter from Kennedy

(CNN) - President Obama presented Pope Benedict XVI a letter from Sen. Edward Kennedy during their meeting at the Vatican Friday, and asked the Pontiff to pray for the senator, who is being treated for brain cancer.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters the president called the Massachusetts Democrat after the meeting. Gibbs said the two spoke for about 10 minutes as Air Force One left Rome heading for Ghana, "telling him he had delivered the letter on his behalf to the Pope."

The letter was described as personal. According to Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough, "the contents of the letter were not known to anyone I know of except Senator Kennedy."

McDonough said Obama and the Pope discussed Kennedy at the end of their half-hour discussion. He told reporters the president "asked that the Holy Father pray for ...Sen. Kennedy, who as we all know is ill, and whose brother obviously broke an important barrier in our country by being the first Catholic president," according to a transcript released by the White House.

The 77-year-old Kennedy was diagnosed with the brain tumor after suffering seizures in May 2008.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. S Callahan

    I hope he prayed 'with' President Obama...he needs all the prayers he can get with his over the top agenda(s). I'm not Catholic, and the only one I know as father is God, but I'd like to think this Pope is as honorable as the previous. I wish Sen. Kennedy healing...in God's will...and peace on his journey.

    July 10, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  2. kyle from ohio

    Daniel Kinsman July 10th, 2009 5:50 pm ET

    DUDE, call it by it's real name you are a Social conservative (abortion rights is not just a issue label as liberal or conservative) not just a conservative. And although i'm liberal and conservative on many issues of live. I do agree with you on praying for my friends and ememies. For the creator is the final judge.

    July 10, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. Elly

    Too bad us, average taxpayers don't have ltrs given to the pope. I can never understand how Kennedy, someone who is as liberal as it comes, can call himself a Roman Catholic. I wish him well in his recovery however he is everything that Catholicism isn't. Divorced, yet he rcvd an annulment after being married for yrs with children, womanizer, left the scene of an accident which resulted in the death of a woman, and has voted in favor a legal abortion rights-which is the epitome of what Catholicism is against.

    July 10, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  4. Tim Cooper

    How disappointing that some here would sit in judgement of Senator Kennedy by contrasting the Senator's political position with what they think God expects of him. It is not for any of us – even political conservatives like me – to cast the first stone. God's mercy is available to everyone, regardless of politics or conduct. Every Jeffrey Dahmer sought (and received) baptism. When we cast the first stone we are presuming to do God's job for him. That may happen in Iran, but please – let's not behave that way here.

    July 10, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  5. Wilson

    He loved that letter from the two people who are responsible for more babies being killed anywhere in the world – Obama & Kennedy. I bet the Pontiff was afraid it might scorch his fingers.

    July 10, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  6. Simmy

    Sad to see that the ugly Americans are still around......Don't make your whole life about what's wrong with the country.....Make a change.....You didn't speak out for eight years - It's too late now.....

    July 10, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. stormerF

    Another wasted trip,Obama is not a Catholic,and his agenda is opposite of the Pope's so what was he thinking? He is not going to change the Pope's mind about Abortion ,stem cell research,or God.

    July 10, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  8. Stephanie

    It is the LAW that the Obama family has to pay for all the accomadations, food, entertainment and any purchases made by his daughters and the people accompanying him. They must also pay for any antertainment, meals and expenses for the First Couple.

    The plane was going there anyway so the seats were free. When the girls met Pres. Obama in Europe there were other gov't officials using the plane to meet with him in Europe.

    That is the trouble with blogs...they are a cesspool of spreading false information.

    July 10, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  9. AlwaysThinking

    skyhawkdriver: Edward Kennedy did not drown a woman in his car; yes, he was driving, the car went in the water and he was unable to save her.

    If you think Senator Kennedy hasn't suffered every day bearing that burden, wishing he could change the events of that night, then you are mistaken. He has dedicated his life to public service, in the face of constant public ridicule and through the horrible loss of his two dear brothers, in a effort to do good with his life. I have always respected him for that.

    Thankfully, God is bigger than all those posting here who are filled with hate, capable of accepting the sincere remorse and amends of us imperfect humans. I have complete confidence that, however you may conceive of the afterlife, that God will welcome Senator Kennedy into his loving arms, when that days comes.

    July 10, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  10. Dominic

    hmmm, so Obama is ok for the Pope himself to meet with, but NOT good enough for Norte Dame??? I think they should learn from this, its ok to disagree, NOT ok to ban people

    July 10, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  11. Emi

    Yes, you are right, Ted Kennedy is a sinner!!!!...but, by the same token all of us are sinners, if you didn't know it, well, now you do...rude awakening for all of you righteous people!!!!!

    Senator Edward Kennedy: Thank you for all the years dedicated to noble and higher ideals to better the lives of all Americans!!

    July 10, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |

    I'm extremely proud of our President!!!!! The Lord would not have made this historic election for nothing!!!! This half white, half african President, is here in this moment for good reason. America will come back, it will just take some time.........
    That pic above is a testamony to God, and country!!!! God Bless America!! I pray for a miracle in the economy, and humanity of the USA that will baffle the critics, and the wise. Even baffle the President himself!!!!

    July 10, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  13. Patriot

    It's just a letter asking the Pope to pray for all the sins he committed and asking if he can buy his way into heaven. No big deal, the President didn't know what was written.

    July 10, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  14. Rasheen

    Did anyone catch that, in the last CNN article about the Pope, he was advocating for a "One World Government" or Financial System?

    July 10, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  15. Albert

    President Bush and Little Dick Cheney were both Methodists, NOT Catholics.

    July 10, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  16. Keith in Austin

    To Al from Palm Springs: Please stop blaming the Bush Administration! Your liberal bretheran have made a total mess and it's time YOU show some accountibility. I know it's easier to blame things on others and play victom to everything in life. Your a perfect Democrat thinking big Goverment will take care of you. You're so pathetic Al!

    July 10, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
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