The Vatican's newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, ran an inexplicably soft front-page editorial about Barack Obama's record on April 29th. One would have thought, pace Ron Howard and Dan Brown, that a member of the "Illuminati" had wormed his way into a staff position and scribbled the editorial in the hopes of damaging the Church.
The editorial claimed that Obama has "moved with caution," and that the fears of pro-lifers about him are unfounded: he "does not seem to have established the radical changes that he had aired." He may even be "rebalancing" his policies "in support of motherhood." The editorial also declared that Obama's policies are opposed to all cloning, which is false. (He is open to cloning for research, as revealed by his constant and careful use of "reproductive" as a qualifier before "cloning" in his statements.) Then the editorial added in the final stretch: "Signals of innovations in the Obama administration are undeniable. Above all on matters of the care of environment and in particular the partnership that seems born with Beijing."
In January, members of the dominant media cast Vatican officials as clueless oafs for not even knowing that Bishop Richard Williamson had downplayed the Holocaust. But L'Osservatore Romano's astonishingly clueless pro-Obama editorial generates hosannas from them.
Like clockwork, E.J. Dionne at the Washington Post seized on it to needle American Catholics who are protesting Notre Dame's decision to honor Obama: "We now know that the reaction of right-wing Catholics to Notre Dame's invitation to President Obama falls into the category of 'more Catholic than the pope.'"
The author of the editorial, Giuseppe Fiorentino, whom Dionne describes with respect as "L'Osservatore's frequent foreign affairs contributor," is not a member of an Enlightenment-era secret society but he is a fact-challenged "enlightened" European liberal. That such a staggeringly stupid and irresponsible column from him managed to appear in the Pope's own newspaper should scare Catholics more than Ron Howard's lame movie.
Who is vetting articles there? The head of Internet research for the Williamson case?
As I wrote last week for Catholic World Report, orthodox Catholics in America reeling from Notre Dame's blown kiss to Obama have a right to ask: Et tu, L'Osservatore Romano? With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Were Obama given a rating by the Catholic Church according to her official moral teachings (rather than Fiorentino's European liberalism), it would be zero. On every single contested issue that touches on the natural moral law—from abortion to gay civil unions to euthanasia to dispensing abortifacients to teens at Rite Aid—he is gravely wrong.
Assessing Obama's record is not even a close call. Any Catholic who is even remotely paying attention knows that during his first hundred days he has advanced policies that contradict the teachings of the Church baldly. What would Obama have to do to excite L'Osservatore Romano's attention? Physically take a torch to Catholic hospitals? Perform abortions himself?
Am I getting too worked up here? I don't think so. Yes, I know the editorial is not surprising at one level -- the Curia is crawling with European liberals capable of the pompous, sniffing, recklessly obtuse opining on display in Fiorentino's column—but the timing of it is a little surprising and very disgusting.
Look what Dionne does with it: he writes that the "article will strengthen the liberal claim that the Catholic right's over-the-top response [to Obama] is rooted at least as much in Republican and conservative politics as in concern over the abortion question." Wrong, E.J.: it is entirely rooted in the fact that Obama is formally cooperating in the killing of children and the destruction of the family.
"Largely lost in the Notre Dame furor is the extent to which the ferocity on the Catholic right has emboldened moderate and liberal Catholics to fight back," Dionne continues, adding that the "current issue of America magazine, published by the Jesuits, includes a sharply worded editorial criticizing the 'divisive effects of the new American sectarians' which 'have not escaped the notice of the Vatican.'"
Really? Dissenting modernist Jesuits are listening to the Vatican again and reading L'Osservatore Romano? And Vatican officials in turn are fretting that "right-wing Catholics" are defending the Church's magisterium at the expense of civil concord?
Well, it is a topsy-turvy world these days. Do a movie about this illuminati at the Vatican, Ron Howard.
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