William Saletan has a nuanced article on Slate about what Obama's visit to Notre Dame, the source of seemingly unending controversy. Here's Saletan:
"Smart pro-lifers understand the multidimensionality of public opinion. That's why, in his introduction of Obama, Notre Dame's president, the Rev. John Jenkins, urged fellow pro-lifers to "appeal to ethical principles that might be persuasive to others." Obama understands it, too: He challenged fellow pro-choicers to "open up our hearts and our minds to those who may not think precisely like we do." Understanding other perspectives isn't just a courtesy. It's a strategy."
Also, for much of this week I've been critiqued in the conservative blogosphere, sometimes in a friendly, sometimes in a not-so-friendly, way for a few things I said during an appearance on CNN covering President Obama's visit to ND. (The liberal blogosphere, not surprisingly, had an entirely different view.) Frankly, I wished I had said some things differently about the pro-life movement. (I said, "Unfortunately, for a lot of people in the pro-life movement, life begins at conception but seems to end there." Better to have said that there is a danger if we reduce life issues to one issue, or if the church gives the impression of doing so, rather than to have accused a "lot" of pro-life advocates of actually believing that. But such is live television.) The other issue of the way we interact with one another in the Catholic blogosphere I'll leave for another post. Or book.
Still, I stand by the other statement that won me some ire, which is that very few people, including Obama, could actually be "pro-abortion," in that they want more and more and more abortions in this country. Some of my friends in the pro-life movement say that the term "pro-abortion" relates more to the legislative policies one favors. I was using it more to refer to the interiority of a person's desires: that is, who could want more abortions? Especially someone who said, as Obama did at Notre Dame, that he wants to "reduce" the number of abortions, and who mapped out a plan for doing so.
To my surprise, then, came this quote from the editor of L'Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, just this morning: "Obama not pro-abortion"