Friday, July 10, 2009

Vatican: Obama not the Antichrist

[UPDATE: Edited for clarity - Matt]

I need to read Dionne more often.

In fact, whether he is the beneficiary of providence or merely good luck, Obama will have his audience with Benedict just three days after the release of a papal encyclical on social justice that places the pope well to Obama’s left on economics. What a delightful surprise it would be for a pope to tell our president that on some matters, he’s just too conservative.

That’s certainly my beef with Obama – he is too beholden to the power of economic elites to qualify as a true “liberal” (as compared to, say, Harry S. Truman) in my book.

The conservative minority among the bishops as well as political activists on the Catholic right have insisted on judging the president only on the basis of his support for legal abortion and stem cell research.

But the Vatican clearly views Obama through a broader prism. Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the papal nuncio in Washington, has privately warned American bishops that harsh attacks on the president threaten to make the church look partisan.

I’m glad someone in authority is saying that – the Church is not supposed to be either The Republican or Democratic Party On Its Knees.

The Vatican press has been largely sympathetic to Obama, and in a recent article, Cardinal Georges Cottier, who was the theologian of the papal household under Pope John Paul II, praised Obama’s “humble realism” and on abortion went so far as to compare the president’s approach to that of St. Thomas Aquinas. (Pray this won’t go to Obama’s head.)

Hoo boy…I fear that popping sound I just heard was conservative Catholics' heads exploding.

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