Pro-Obama Article Re-Published in English Language Edition of Vatican Newspaper after Heavy Criticis

By Hilary White

ROME, May 11, 2009 ( - The Vatican’s newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, has re-published in its English language edition a highly controversial article downplaying the anti-life and anti-family policies of US president Barack Obama. The article, "Obama in the White House: 100 Days that Didn’t Shake the World," by Giuseppe Fiorentino, was originally published in its Italian daily edition on April 30 and drew heavy criticism from leading figures in the pro-life and pro-family movements in Italy and the US. (To read the article in English, see:

Many interpreted the article as an indication that the Vatican’s Secretariat of State is soft-pedalling Catholic teaching on life and family to appeal to the virulently pro-abortion Obama administration. When the Italian version of the article first appeared Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, the head of the Rome office of Human Life International, told that it was "clearly" meant as an effort by high level Vatican officials "to build bridges with the current Democratic Administration in the U.S."

It is known that articles on politics and the Vatican’s international relations are vetted by the Secretariat of State, headed by Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, who was hand-picked Pope Benedict XVI and is frequently described as a Benedict loyalist.

Austin Ruse, the head of New York’s Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) wrote in the journal, The Catholic Thing, on Friday, that the Vatican newspaper had embarrassed itself with its praise of Obama, identified by pro-life advocates as the most pro-abortion president in US history.

"Most of us understand that the Vatican is a sovereign state and must carry on relations with the most powerful country in the world. But does one of its most prominent publications have to fawn on and grossly misrepresent an American president who is on the wrong side of what successive popes have called the most important civil rights issue of our time?" wrote Ruse, an expert in international politics and a prominent lobbyist for the pro-life movement at the UN.

"The Osservatore column could have been written by one of the several Catholic shills working for Obama," he added.

Sandro Magister, a Vatican insider and prominent Catholic journalist, wrote on May 8, that L’Osservatore Romano had "surprised everyone" with the admiration for Obama expressed in the article, not only for his strategy in international politics, but also for his position on "ethical questions."  Magister writes that the "amazement" rose from the "contrast between the Olympic calm" of the Vatican article - which describes Obama’s first 100 days as having given encouraging signs "in support of motherhood" -  and the reaction of the US bishops.

Magister goes on to quote the distinguished professor emeritus of the Catholic University of Louvain, Monsignor Michel Schooyans, who spoke at the plenary assembly of the pontifical academy of social sciences in Rome last week. In his lecture, Schooyans attacked the "messianism" that suffuses President Obama’s public image.

On "one essential and fundamental point," Msgr. Schooyans said, the presidency of Barack Obama differs from that of former president George W. Bush: the latter "offered both unborn children and medical personnel legal protection, certainly less than sufficient but still effective."

"The voters who put Barack Obama into the presidency did not perceive the weakness and ambiguity of the statements made by their candidate concerning this decisive point," Schooyans said.

"President Obama is thus reintroducing the right to discriminate, to ‘set aside’ some human beings. With him, the right of every human person to life and liberty is no longer recognized, much less protected." In opposition to the pro-Obama message of L’Osservatore Romano, Schooyans warned that Obama’s actions in support of abortion will undermine the democratic principles upon which the United States is founded.

"A society that calls itself democratic but whose leaders, invoking subjective ‘new rights,’ permit the elimination of some categories of human beings, is a society that has already set out on the road of totalitarianism," he said.

Read related coverage:

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

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