Based on his visit with Pop Benedict XVI earlier today, President Obama seems to have learned from the previous, infamous gift-giving failures that brought him so much grief on both sides of the Atlantic. This time the White House was able to procure a one-of-a-kind artifact rich with history — a stole that was draped for eighteen years around the body of St. John Neumann, the first American bishop to be canonized. Okay, not something most people would be ecstatic about finding under the Christmas tree, but for the Pope, we're sure it beats the hell out of a bunch of DVDs or an iPod. Of course, no international meeting could pass without some kind of awkward present, and the Pope did not disappoint. In addition to a signed encyclical and a mosaic of St. Peter's Basilica, His Holiness bestowed upon Obama a copy of a Vatican document on bioethics and the right to life. Just in case he wants to rethink things.
Obama and pope meet for first time [AP via HuffPo]
The Scoop on Obama's Gift to Pope Tomorrow [On Faith/WP]
Pope discusses bioethics, G-8 summit with Obama at Vatican [Catholic News Service]