By Hilary White
NEW YORK, May 26, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A recent string of "star struck teenage" articles praising US President Barack Obama by the Vatican daily newspaper is scandalizing Catholics around the world, according to a prominent American conservative commentator. Michael Novak, a US Catholic writer, philosopher and diplomat, wrote on the website of the National Review magazine today that the editors of L’Osservatore Romano have failed to grasp either "the full threat Obama poses for the American Catholic conscience" or the "immense scandal" they are causing the Church by praising him.
Novak, regarded by many as a "moderate conservative," wrote in an editorial titled "All the Confusion Fit to Print," that "L’ Osservatore Romano seems not to grasp the fundamental realities of abortion politics in America."
In the last month, the Vatican’s daily newspaper, largely in its Italian daily edition, has produced a set of articles about President Obama that have downplayed his pro-abortion and anti-family policies, ignored his 100 per cent pro-abortion voting record and reported with little criticism his appearance at Notre Dame University.
One article, published May 12th, compared Obama to the biblical Joshua who led the people of Israel to the Promised Land and said that he is the "fulfilment" of Rev. Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights movement. But the greatest criticism has been levelled against a political editorial published last month titled, "Obama in the White House: 100 Days that Didn’t Shake the World," by Giuseppe Fiorentino.
Many pro-life leaders have voiced their concerns at the recent kid-glove treatment of Obama in the newspaper, that is known to be vetted by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. Their criticisms became even more vocal last week when the paper’s editor-in-chief said that he does not believe Obama is a pro-abortion politician. Giovanni Maria Vian, in an interview with Italian political analyst, Paolo Rodari, praised Obama’s Notre Dame speech, a speech labelled "mendacious" by Novak. Vian said it had been "respectful toward every position."
Vian said, "He [Obama] tried to engage the debate, stepping out from every ideological position and outside every ‘confrontational mentality.’ To this extent his speech is to be appreciated."
In its reportage of Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame University last weekend, Novak identified five "crucial facts" of which Vian’s newspaper, "like a blind observer of faraway events," seems "completely ignorant."
Novak said that the paper ignored the fact that the US bishops had issued a public declaration that no politicians who oppose "fundamental moral principles" were to be honoured by any Catholic institution in the US. It has also failed to distinguish between the 40 percent of practising US Catholics who support the Church’s teaching on abortion, and the US Church’s barely practising members who support legal abortion. This failure to distinguish, Novak said, put L’Osservatore Romano into the same ranks as the mainstream liberal secular press.
The L’Osservatore Romano coverage also failed to note, he said, that Barack Obama has gone "farther than any president in American history in supporting abortion." This includes supporting legal infanticide, "euphemistically called ‘partial-birth abortion,’" and opposing legislation that would protect children born alive after an attempted abortion. In this latter case, Novak pointed out, Obama is "virtually alone in U.S. politics" in his attempt to please the abortion lobby, since many other "pro-choice" politicians voted in favor of the measure.
The paper, he wrote, has also failed to grasp the subtleties of the euphemistic language, the "code" of "doublespeak," that has grown up in politics around the abortion issue in the US. While L’Osservatore Romano claimed that Obama promised at Notre Dame to put in place legal protections for doctors, Novak points to the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), for which Obama has promised his support. FOCA proposes to repeal all previous legislation that put any restrictions whatever on abortion. This would effectively force all medical practitioners in the US to participate in abortion.
FOCA, Novak wrote, would change the law so that "anyone who would stand in the way of abortion could be recognized as a criminal."
Novak concludes by asking, "Why on earth, then, does L’Osservatore Romano side with the abortionists, and against the besieged, struggling minority of churchgoing Catholics who find abortion abhorrent, and an intrinsic and unrationalizable evil?"
He laments, "We ask Rome for bread, and L’Osservatore Romano gives us stones."
To read Novak’s editorial:
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
"Obama not Pro-Abortion" Says Editor in Chief of Vatican Newspaper
Obama is "Joshua" to Martin Luther King’s "Moses": Vatican Newspaper Article
Why the Vatican Newspaper Said Obama’s First 100 Days Wasn’t All that Bad
Pro-Life Leaders Worldwide Concerned About Weakening of Vatican’s Pro-Life Stand in Wake of Uncorrected Vatican Newspaper Article