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By John-Henry Westen in Washington, D.C.

VATICAN CITY, October 9, 2009 ( – Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi has reacted to the Nobel Peace prize being awarded to President Barack Obama saying that the news “was greeted with appreciation at the Vatican in light of the president's demonstrated commitment to promoting peace on an international level and, in particular, in recently promoting nuclear disarmament.”

Given President Obama's vigorous support for abortion, pro-life leaders reacted with shock and dismay to the reaction by the Vatican spokesman.

One pro-life leader, who wished to remain anonymous, told, “If Obama was good on international peace and nuclear disarmament but favored the killing of Jews, its not likely he would get either the Noble Peace Prize or be praised by the Vatican.”

Human Life International President Fr. Tom Euteneuer reacted to Lombardi's statement saying, “I really don't know who Fr. Lombardi is speaking for. The pope is not mentioned and I am glad for that.”  Euteneuer who is currently at a conference in Germany added: “Fr. Lombardi must have forgotten that Pope John Paul II was not granted the Peace Prize in 24 years of peace-making around the world because the leftists on the Nobel Committee obviously don't give this Prize for actual results of peace.”

American Life League President Judie Brown called Lombardi's statement “an insult to every practicing Catholic but at a more dramatic level a slap at Mother Teresa… who said 'the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion.'”  Brown, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said that she was “outraged” by Lombardi's statement and called on Pope Benedict XVI “to deal with” Lombardi “once and for all”.

This is the latest of the seemingly pro-Obama statements that have come from left-leaning circles in the Vatican.  It follows public comments from the editor-in-chief of L'Osservatore Romano Gian Maria Vian saying that Obama is not “pro-abortion” but “rather, pro-choice.”

In July, Swiss Cardinal Georges Cottier, former theologian of the papal household under Pope John Paul II and currently an influential adviser in the Vatican appeared to downplay the pastoral concerns of the American Bishops over President Barack Obama giving the commencement address to the University of Notre Dame's Class of 2009 and receiving an award.

Chicago Cardinal Francis George also commented on the controversy saying: “L'Osservatore Romano – it is true – may have written a dozen lines in favor of Obama, some cardinal may have spoken in enthusiastic terms of the current American administration, but beyond the journalistic hype one point remains: the Church cannot betray itself.”

The Cottier article recently garnered a politic but pointed response from Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput. “When Notre Dame's local bishop vigorously disagrees with the appearance of any speaker, and some 80 other bishops and 300,000 laypeople around the country publicly support the local bishop, then reasonable people must infer that a real problem exists with the speaker – or at least with his appearance at the disputed event,” wrote Chaput.  “Reasonable people might further choose to defer to the judgment of those Catholic pastors closest to the controversy.” 

See the complete front page of the October 10 L'Osservatore Romano

See related coverage:

Commentary: Vatican Press Office Director Fr. Lombardi – Six Strikes but He's Still not Out