Pope gives Obama pro-life Catholic writings

Among the gifts exchanged between Pope Benedict XVI and President Obama at the Vatican on Friday were a recent "Vatican Instruction on Bioethics" -- a pointed message from the Catholic leader to the pro-choice president.

Benedict gave Obama a copy of "Dignitas Personae" ("The Dignity of a Person"), an instructional document released last December elaborating the Catholic Church position on issues such as stem cell research, fertility treatment, and cloning.

Obama said he had "some reading to do on the plane" after receiving the document, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

"In the course of their cordial exchanges the conversation turned first of all to questions which are in the interests of all and which constitute a great challenge for the future of every nation and for the true progress of peoples, such as the defense and promotion of life and the right to abide by one's conscience," the Vatican said in a statement about the meeting afterward.

"The reading [of this document] could help the president better understand the church's position," one Vatican aide told the Catholic Reporter.