The New York Times thinks Pope Benedict and President Obama aren’t gonna’ let a little thing like the death of millions of babies get in the way of their budding BFF-ness.

The Times says the Pope, unlike crazy American Catholics, is willing to see abortion and embryonic stem cell research as just one teeny issue among many. Of course, the story belies reality.

President Obama received a warm welcome at the Vatican on Friday in his first meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. Indeed, the Vatican has generally seemed more eager to form a relationship with Mr. Obama than many American bishops, who have been cooler because he differs from the church on abortion and other reproductive issues. The invitation Mr. Obama received to deliver the commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame, for instance, triggered strong public condemnation from conservative bishops.

Why does the American Catholic leadership seem to be focused on abortion, while the Vatican appears willing to view that issue as merely one among many on which to judge a political leader?

I’m sorry, did the Pope hand Obama a book on how to stimulate the economy? No.

Did the Pope hand Obama a book about how to get our troops out of the Middle East? Nope.

The Pope handed Obama a booklet explaining the Vatican’s opposition to practices such as abortion and embryonic stem cell research. So it doesn’t seem like the Pope treated it as one issue among many. Maybe that was only the media.