L’Osservatore Romano clarifies its views on Obama

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican newspaper has once again emphasized that when it comes to the Obama administration and pro-life issues, the Vatican and the U.S. bishops are in full agreement and that no compromise is possible on the right to life.

The newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, said it was a mistake to view its press coverage of Obama — which has been positive on many issues — as evidence that the Vatican is following a “different strategy” than the U.S. bishops in dealing with the new administration.

The comments came in the newspaper’s June 5 edition, in an article criticizing the Obama administration’s restoration of federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research.

The newspaper appeared to be defending itself against accusations by some U.S. Catholic commentators that its editorial line was too soft on Obama.

In one of the latest critiques, Michael Novak, director of social and political studies at the American Enterprise Institute, wrote in National Review Online May 26 that L’Osservatore had “published glowing, star-struck, teenage praise of Pres. Barack Obama” and “seems not to grasp the fundamental realities of abortion politics in America.”

Here’s what L’Osservatore said June 5:

It is appropriate to underline that in reporting on recent statements and initiatives of the president of the United States, L’Osservatore Romano has certainly not intended to express appreciation for his positions on questions of ethical importance.

The article of April 29 on the first 100 days of President Obama, in fact, said that any initiative regarding stem-cell research does not remove ‘reasons for criticism in the face of unacceptable forms of bioengineering that contrast with the human identity of the embryo.’

Obviously the Holy See and L’Osservatore Romano have been, are and will be fully at the side of the U.S. bishops in their commitment in favor of the inviolability of human life in whatever stage of its existence.

Other interpretations have no foundation, especially those that have wanted to use the newspaper’s articles to make it appear that the teachings of the U.S. episcopate on the inherent evil of abortion were an exercise in partisan politics, supposedly in contrast with a different strategy of the Holy See.

President Obama has shown himself to be open to dialogue and the U.S. bishops have welcomed this possibility in a positive manner. But in doing so, they have reaffirmed, and quite rightly, that in dialogue no compromise is ever possible on the fundamental question of the right to life.

 In May, we reported a similar statement from L’Osservatore editor Giovanni Maria Vian, who said: “It should be understood that L’Osservatore shares the same position as the American bishops who consider abortion a disaster. It is always a necessary and decisive task, in fact, to promote a culture of life at every level.”

At the same time, Vian has said that, despite obvious differences with the new administration on pro-life issues, he does not consider Obama a “pro-abortion president,” and his newspaper has emphasized Obama’s declared commitment to reducing the number of abortions.

The latest statement from L’Osservatore came at the end of an article that ran on an inside page. The same day, the newspaper published a front-page article giving good marks to Obama’s speech to the Arab world in Cairo.

Pope Benedict XVI and the president and expected to meet in July.

8 Responses

  1. I guess the phrase, “either you’re with us or you’re with…” still applies in conservative circles. That’s fitting. They are after all “conservatives”.

  2. Reducing abortion takes action. Not giving money to the Mexico City plan is action and not taken. Abortion is murder and needs to be stopped.

  3. It’s not just about reducing abortion, it’s about fetal rights. Obama is against the dignity of unborn children. He discriminates.

  4. L’Osservatore Romano needs to choose its words more carefully. Mr. Obama’s record on abortion, and indeed infanticide (by not voting to assist infants who are accidentally alive after botched abortions) is abysmal. Regardless of his placating speech, and Contrary to Giovanni Maria Vian’s opinion, he is most certainly a pro-abortion president. Do Catholic’s now consider reducing the number of abortions to be the goal? That’s like saying we want to reduce the number of people killed in an ethnic cleansing genocide instead of eliminating it. This issue runs to the very core of the church’s reason for being. Unless it becomes the focus of social justice efforts, Catholicism is in big big trouble.

  5. What is with the bishops? If the Vatican can take a balanced view of President Obama why can’t the USCCB ? As usual they ( the bishops ) are a day late and a dollar short. Perhaps the Catholic Church has become the Republican Party at prayer.

  6. Holly – I think you fail to grasp the role of the bishops (including the bishop of Rome, our Pope.) They are the shepherds defending 2000 years of Church teaching. If every Catholic in America voted Pro-Life instead of Pro-Secular the US would be a much much better place.

  7. The vatican does not take a balanced view of Obama view, Vian’s editorial liberties do. Vian’s statements strike a blow against Pro-life causes which distorts the Vatican’s solid stand on the defense of human life. Remember the Pope reprensents God’s Law not mans. The nature of which is “Thou Shall Not Kill”. The Sofist and his minions seek to plant a seed of doubt about faith, to conquer and divide. Not to percieve abortion as a grave offense against God, and that this evil is not reversible. The dead baby cannot be brought back to life.

  8. True to a liberal mentality, they don’t know what they are for or against. They only wish we would be more open to talk about how they feel about a womans right to choose. Choose what? Death or Life, how many lives have we lost in this society of convinence, where life is so disposable. How much more innocent blood will be shed in the guise of a choice that is tantamount to murder. This is my understanding of the issue as a Catholic. Let me know what yours is. Amen

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