A week before President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet Pope Benedict XVI, praise for Obama came from a perhaps unexpected source: the former theologian of the papal household under Pope John Paul II. As reported by John R. Allen Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter, Cardinal George Cottier, whom Allen described as "an influential cardinal and Vatican adviser," praised Obama's "realism" in an article in 30 Giorni. He also compared Obama's proposals to seek common ground with pro-life groups to reduce abortion to the practice of early Christian legislators, "who didn’t quickly abolish the tolerant Roman laws regarding practices which didn’t conform to the natural law, or which were actually contrary to it, such as concubinage and slavery. Change happened along a slow path, often marked by steps backward, as the Christian population increased, and, along with them, the impact of a sense of the dignity of the human person.”
Another interesting quote from Cardinal Cottier:
“Political realism recognizes evil, and calls it by its name. Yet it also recognizes that one must be humble and patient, combating evil without the pretense of eradicating it from human history through instruments of legal coercion.”
Did I read that last sentence correctly? This is shaping up to be quite a week, both in Washington and in Rome...
Jim Keane, S.J.