Vatican Isn't Happy With White House Guest List

Gay Episcopal bishop and activist nun reportedly among the sore points
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2015 11:40 AM CDT
Obama, seen meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican last year, is being criticized over the guest list for the Pope's upcoming visit to the White House.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

(Newser) – The Vatican is worried President Obama's guest list for Pope Francis' upcoming visit to the White House is a little too "off-brand," the Wall Street Journal reports. Among the thousands of guests invited to Wednesday's event are the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, a nun dedicated to social justice, and a transgender leader of a Catholic LGBT group. An anonymous Vatican official tells the Journal they're worried any photos of the pope with these guests could be seen as a tacit endorsement of anything from gay marriage to contraception. The Holy See is also a little miffed that it's unclear whether the White House has invited any anti-abortion leaders.

However the White House press secretary tells the Journal he wouldn't read too much into any single name on the guest list "because there will be 15,000 other people there, too." Along those lines, the Washington Post reports that the five-day visit, including stops in Philadelphia and New York, will be "one of the largest security operations in U.S. history," one that is already taxing police resources in all three cities. Pope Francis, meanwhile, begins what for him will be a 10-day trip today in Cuba, reports the AP. He arrives in DC on Tuesday. (Read more Pope Francis stories.)

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