Vatican's Mild Response to Obama's Speech
By Jacqueline L. Salmon
The Vatican continues to take a kindler, gentler view of the Obama White House than the American Catholic church hierarchy.
In its commentary yesterday on President Obama's speech at the University of Notre Dame over the weekend, it noted his plea to abortion's opposing forces to find "common ground" on the issue.
"The search for common ground: this seems to be the path chosen by the president of the United States, Barack Obama, to face the delicate question of abortion," said an unsigned article in yesterday's edition of L'Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper. It was reported today by Religion News Service.
This is the second time that L'Osservatore has assessed Obama, and the president has once again escaped the type of severe censure he has come in for from many bishops and the more conservative lay wing of the U.S. Catholic Church. Last month, L'Osservatore evaluated his 100 days, concluding that "The 100 days...did not shake the world" and that the new president "does not seem to have confirmed the radical innovations that he had discussed."
Yesterday's coverage continued in that vein.
Noting that the newspaper has not written anything about the Notre Dame controversy up until now, Religion News Service put it this way: "The paper's coverage -- or rather, lack of it -- offers the most extensive evidence so far that the Holy See has opted for a milder approach to Obama than have some important elements of the U.S. church hierarchy."
Indeed, some bishops are said to be nervous at the harsh tone of the criticism of Obama that has emanated from the U.S. church in the last few months over the Notre Dame commencement. After all, the Catholic church will need to work with the administration on such delicate issues as health care and immigration reform, both of which the church endorses.
Jacqueline L. Salmon
May 19, 2009; 2:32 PM ET
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