VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II today received Geraldine A. Ferraro, who advocated "freedom of choice" on abortion during her vice presidential bid last year, in a brief private audience which she described as "an exciting moment for me as a Catholic."
In a highly unusual move, the Vatican neither announced the audience in advance nor confirmed it took place.
"I have nothing to say," said Msgr. Giulio Nicolini, a Vatican spokesman, when asked whether the pontiff had received Ferraro and her family.
The daily Vatican bulletin, which carries the Pope's audiences, Vatican appointments and texts of papal speeches, did not list John Paul's meeting with the New York Democrat. Ferraro said the session lasted 10 minutes.
Even after Ferraro met with reporters to discuss the audience, Nicolini said, "The Vatican's answer to reporters' questions whether she met with the Pope is, 'No comment.' "