By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
A string of articles praising President Barack Obama appearing in the Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, is causing a wave of criticism across the Catholic world.
The most recent criticism is coming from Michael Novak, a Catholic writer, philosopher and diplomat who penned an editorial appearing in National Review Magazine entitled, “All the Confusion Fit to Print.” Novak said the editors of L’Osservatore Romano have failed to grasp “the full threat Obama poses for the American Catholic conscience” or the “immense scandal” they are causing the Church by praising him.
The problem began back on January 20 when both the Vatican radio and newspaper offered a positive assessment of Obama’s inauguration, which was followed by a tribute to his inaugural address on Jan. 28.
In April, the paper wrote about Obama’s stem cell research guidelines, saying they were “not so very permissive.”
Another article, published in May, compared Obama to the biblical Joshua who led the people of Israel to the Promised Land and said that he is the “fulfilment” of Rev. Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights movement.
But the greatest criticism has been levelled against a political editorial published last month titled, “Obama in the White House: 100 Days that Didn’t Shake the World,” by Giuseppe Fiorentino in which he said Obama was “not pro-abortion.”
These criticisms intensified in the wake of the President’s May 17 commencement speech at Notre Dame when the paper’s editor-in-chief said that he did not believe Obama is a pro-abortion politician. Giovanni Maria Vian, in an interview with Italian political analyst, Paolo Rodari, praised Obama’s Notre Dame speech, saying it had been “respectful toward every position.”
Vian said, “He [Obama] tried to engage the debate, stepping out from every ideological position and outside every ‘confrontational mentality.’ To this extent his speech is to be appreciated.”
The paper did not report on the U.S. Bishop’s position against the speech at Notre Dame until this past weekend.
In his article, Novak says the paper has failed to grasp the subtleties of the “code of doublespeak,” that has grown up in the world of abortion politics in the U.S. While L’Osservatore Romano claimed that Obama promised at Notre Dame to put in place legal protections for doctors, they overlooked the president’s extreme pro-abortion record and the cabal of abortion radicals he has appointed to key positions in his administration, some of whom are “Catholics” with a long history of causing scandal in the Church.
Novak concludes by asking, “Why on earth, then, does L’Osservatore Romano side with the abortionists, and against the besieged, struggling minority of churchgoing Catholics who find abortion abhorrent, and an intrinsic and unrationalizable evil?”
He laments, “We ask Rome for bread, and L’Osservatore Romano gives us stones.”
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