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By Kathleen Gilbert

ROME, June 23, 2009 ( – Pope Benedict XVI is expected to meet with President Obama at the Vatican July 10 starting at 4 p.m., reports the Catholic News Service today.

The long-expected meeting will take place after President Obama attends a G8 summit July 8-10 in the Italian town of L'Aquila.

During the meeting the pope is expected to address the president on his aggressively anti-life policies, including the reintroduction of taxpayer funding for embryo-destructive research and abortion overseas.

It is uncertain whether the newly-nominated U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Miguel Diaz, will be present for the meeting, as Congress has reportedly not yet scheduled Diaz's confirmation hearing.

Pro-lifers were dismayed at the pick as Diaz numbered among a group of dissident Catholics, including Pepperdine law professor Doug Kmiec, who signed a letter supporting Obama's nomination of the deeply pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius to head the Department of Health and Human Services.  

Obama selected the St. John's School of Theology professor for the ambassadorship May 28, following persistent rumors in April that the Vatican had rejected several potential choices. The Vatican denied the rumors.

See related coverage: 

Obama Appoints Sebelius Supporter Miguel Diaz as United States Ambassador to Holy See