James Martin, S.J.May 18, 2009

Rather than editorializing, I'll just give you the entire story from CNS.  There were two stories in the latest L'Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper.  One praised him for seeking "common ground," the other quoted critics of the president.  Here's the take from CNS.  (H/t to David Gibson)

Vatican newspaper says Obama sought 'common ground' at Notre Dame

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican newspaper said U.S. President Barack Obama sought common ground on the divisive issue of abortion in his commencement address at the University of Notre Dame.

The newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, said the president also confirmed that pushing for a more liberal abortion law would not be a priority of his administration. The comments came in a L'Osservatore report May 18, the day after Obama spoke at the university in Indiana.

"The search for a common ground: This seems to be the path chosen by the president of the United States, Barack Obama, in facing the delicate question of abortion," the newspaper said.

It said Obama had set aside the "strident tone" of the 2008 political campaign on the abortion issue.

"Yesterday Obama confirmed what he expressed at his 100-day press conference at the White House, when he said that enacting a new law on abortion was not a priority of his administration," it said.

The newspaper, which was reporting on the Notre Dame commencement for the first time, acknowledged the controversy caused by the president's appearance at what it called "the most prestigious Catholic university in the United States."

"Yesterday, too, as could have been predicted, there were protests. But from the podium set up in the basketball arena, the president invited Americans of every faith and ideological conviction to 'work in common effort' to reduce the number of abortions," it said.

The newspaper noted that Obama had called for reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, facilitating adoption and supporting women who want to carry their babies to term, and that he had also spoken of drafting a "conscience clause" for medical personnel who are morally opposed to participating in abortions.

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12 years 2 months ago
After reading all the negative comments on Obama's remarks, almost all saying, 'slick', 'not to be believed' 'words are not actions' .... the good news is that it appears the  Vatican did not use or maybe even get the 'talking points' distributed by the extreme right.  Hierarchal fence mending is a big priority..
12 years 2 months ago
bui: If you are going to get snarky, at least do so correctly. It is BHO, not BOH.  
12 years 2 months ago
James Martin,SJ I listened to you at the Jesuit luncheon in Chicago a couple of years ago. I was totally pleased to hear you speak on CNN Sunday before the commenncement address. On Tuesday I was able to find the full text on-line of your remarks. Thanks very much for your effots to go on TV. My wife & I appreciated your remarks very greatlly. Bob
12 years 2 months ago
I agree, L'Osservatore was simply reporting - however they did a fair job of doing so.  It is also worth pointing out that Notre Dame (which with apologies to my nephew and godson, who will go to Georgetown) is pre-eminent and that both schools are run by orders rather than the local ordinary.  The USCCB should probably clarify that there authority ends at the campus line of these schools, so obedience to their policy is not the issue.  Let me also point out that if the Holy See had a problem with Notre Dame's invitation or the award of a degree they could have made this known through the appropriate channels and the degree would have been withdrawn.  It says a lot about the wisdom of this pontiff that this was not done. Bui, BHO still believes that government regulation of abortion would be unwise.  This is not to say that he believes abortion is a good thing.  Canon law prohibits one from advocting and providing abortion, not declining to prosecute it.  Since before Roe, in the United States abortion was punished with a fine, one could argue that abortion has never truly been criminal here.  You are also ill-informed regarding the Mexico City policy, which did not prohibit American funding of abortions (that is prohibited by law), but rather prohibited family planning organizations from mentioning that abortion is an option.  The only impact is that funds can be used to talk about abortion.  Anyone who is at all familiar with how grantees use money know that even with the Mexico City policy in place, the same employee wearing the hat of a separately funded organization would mention abortion.  There is nothing sillier or harder to enforce than a gag order. Milbo, he appointed a body to work toward reducing abortions, so his actions qualify.  I actually wish he would be clearer on why overturning Roe is a bad idea.  As a past president of the Harvard Law Review and a faculty member of the University of Chicago School of Law teaching constitutional law, he could likely explain it fairly clearly, with additional material and personal experience that he could only provide - for example, if Roe were overturned on jurisdictional grounds, Loving v. Virginia would be in doubt on jurisdictional grounds.  He could powerfully relate that his own parents could not travel to some states when they were together before Loving was decided.  There are quite a few other examples he could raise which are personal to him. The reason he has not is that it would not be polite to his Catholic supporters, as their bishops have, quite wrongly, made overturning Roe a centerpiece of their strategy for ending abortion.
12 years 2 months ago
"The newspaper noted that Obama had called for reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, facilitating adoption and supporting women who want to carry their babies to term, and that he had also spoken of drafting a "conscience clause" for medical personnel who are morally opposed to participating in abortions." Show me the money for the adoption facilities and help to distressed pregnant women and show me the law with the conscience clause.  I am keeping an open mind.  So far, I've seen the contrary.
12 years 2 months ago
The law on conscience clauses has been on the books for decades.  The regulations currently in comment phase were a last minute publicity stunt to embarrass Obama.  If they were that essential, they would have been done when the original law was passed under Reagan.  Over the past 28 years, 20 of them have had Republican Presidents who could have issued such regulations not at the last minute.  I'm not sure about the adoption funding, but I work on tax policy more than spending.  It might be in the current budget document.
12 years 2 months ago
I thought Georgetown was the most prestigious Catholic university in the U.S. Does it just go to show you how little the OSSERVATORE knows of the U.S.?
12 years 2 months ago
Father Martin: You are missing, like CNS, an important part of the infromation. that same edition of L'Osservatore Romano harshly criticized Obama on stem cell research. Pitty CNS missed, but not CNA: check it out: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=16034
12 years 2 months ago
To Wanda J... you bold (contextual as well as literal) statements are well taken.  However, tell your BOH to sin no more by his ACTION but not his WORDS.  One hundred days have come and gone in his Presidency but here is the list, January 22 - BOH issued a written statement that he backs a woman's "right to choose." January 23 - Overturns the Mexico City policy that forbade the funding of abortions and abortion groups outside U.S. boundaries. I am not a righteous Catholic but the one who care about those unborn.  I ask you Wanda J, do you care about the unborn ?
12 years 2 months ago
Father Jim - Just slightly off-topic...thank you for your level-headed commentary on CNN Sunday.  Even my saintly ultra-Orthodox Catholic 89-year-old mom commented on your demeanor, which was in stark contrast to the smugness of...let's just say, another commentator.
12 years 2 months ago
Surprising that you did not have a link to the L'Osservatore Romano article.  The article is not praising Obama as you would like to believe or at least have others believe.  The article is only reporting what Obama said.  He did say that he seeks common ground, but his actions tell us otherwise.
12 years 2 months ago
Good Afternoon Father Martin.  I want to express my support on the way that you handle Mr. Arroyo (Jesus, Christ).  Listening to him, I take it that he is ''perfect'' and has not sin.  I am so glad that Jesus that I know and love was compassionate towards those who were not perfect.  He said to the ''Elders'' who thought that they were so righteous and upright ''He who has not sin, let him cast the first stone''.  As the story is told, they all walked away.  Jesus told the Lady, go and sin no more.  He also asked us to pray for those who do not agree with us.  So, I would ask that ALL OF THOSE RIGHTEOUS CATHOLICS, who have not sin, please pray for the U.S. of America President, and stop judging unless you want to be judge.  NO ONE ON THIS EARTH IS PERFECT.   WE HAVE ALL SIN AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD, REMEMBER THAT.

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