Vatican-US relations in the age of Obama

Though only days into President Barack Obama’s administration, Italian columnist and author Massimo Franco speculated about what relations might look like between the Vatican and Obama as well as the U.S. Catholic Church and Obama.

CNS Rome Bureau Chief John Thavis offered his analysis in this week’s Vatican Letter, writing that the Vatican will highlight the similarities between the church and the Obama agenda, such as diplomacy and social justice, while “downplaying difference on moral questions like abortion.”

Franco agreed, saying “we are going to see a honeymoon period” which will become more clear as time goes on.

In honor of the 25th anniversary of U.S.-Vatican relations, he spoke last night in Washington about his book, “Parallel Empires: The Vatican and the United States — Two Centuries of Alliance and Conflict.”

Franco said the Vatican, in its diplomatic role, must highlight similarities because, well, that’s what diplomats do.

And the U.S. bishops, he said, probably for the time being will be silent on such controversial issues as abortion and embryonic stem-cell research for fear of ostracizing Catholics who voted for Obama. It’s important to keep the flock together.

But as time goes on, the U.S. bishops might take a more vocal role, leaving the diplomatic niceties to the Vatican.

What about Joe Biden, the first Catholic vice president?  Well, said Franco, the U.S. bishops and the Vatican actually prefer a non-Catholic with an agenda more in line with the church than a pro-choice Catholic in such a public role.

4 Responses

  1. I agree with a diplomatic approach, but at some point those Catholics who supported Obama will need to held accountable for supporting the changes Obama is commited to, if they confilct with church teachings. I expect things will look much like what the Church faced during WWII with European politics.

    100% agreement on Biden–saying you are a Catholic must be balanced with his actions.

  2. Obama is a “miserable failure”
    I must admit that this is sweet revenge. A few years ago tech savvy internet users with Bush derangement syndrome linked President Bushes bio with the Google search term “miserable failure.” Now the label has been transferred to President Barack Obama.

  3. Great expectations, and emphasizing hopes for cooperation on issues of peace and social justice. But the Vatican has avoided pre-emptive battles with Obama over pro-life and family issues. The Holy Spirit’s presence in the church and Vatican is very good.

  4. The issues which he has to tackle are global and tremendous.He should be given some more time before he is judged.It is not Obama who needs to be watched but the inner Kitchen Cabinet he has surrounded himself with.It is these Personalities with their own Agendas who will decide many Policies of State for the U.S people. These necessarily may not be in line with the Catholic Church thinking. It is clear he is after change and he will undo in due course every thing that has even a tinge of Bush in it .It may be wise presently not to do battle with him but also wise to let him know that there is a line which must not be crossed.

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