Joseph A. Feuerherd, publisher, National Catholic Reporter: "Outside of your partisan political opponents -- the Republicans -- there's one group that has also been critical of you in perhaps harsh ways -- a number of American U.S. bishops -- U.S. bishops. Is there a point where if you keep getting hammered by the leaders of the American Catholic Church that you write them off as opposition and try to take another approach?"
Obama: "The American bishops have a profound influence in their communities, in the Church, and beyond. What I will say is that although there have been criticisms leveled at me from some of the bishops, there have been a number of bishops who have been extremely generous and supportive even if they don't agree with me on every issue. So in that sense the American bishops represent a cross-section of opinion just like other groups do."
Obama noted he had met with Chicago Cardinal Francis George, and said part of his motivation for wanting to forge a relationship with the bishops was his fond memories of late Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernadin, who he cited as an example of a bishop who spoke out forcefully on social justice issues.
"I think there are going to continue to be areas where we have profound agreements and there are going to be some areas where we disagree. That's healthy," he concluded.