A few hours before President-elect Obama’s inauguration Tuesday, the Vatican released this congratulatory telegram from Pope Benedict XVI:
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
On the occasion of your inauguration as the forty-fourth president of the United States of America I offer cordial good wishes, together with the assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will grant you unfailing wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high responsibilities. Under your leadership may the American people continue to find in their impressive religious and political heritage the spiritual values and ethical principles needed to cooperate in the building of a truly just and free society, marked by respect for the dignity, equality and rights of each of its members, especially the poor, the outcast and those who have no voice. At a time when so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world yearn for liberation from the scourge of poverty, hunger and violence, I pray that you will be confirmed in your resolve to promote understanding, cooperation and peace among the nations, so that all may share in the banquet of life which God wills to set for the whole human family (Isaiah 25:6-7). Upon you and your family, and upon all the American people, I willingly invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace.