Bullish on Obama, the Vatican's Newspaper Draws Ire of America's Catholic Conservatives

A prominent American Catholic says the Vatican's newspaper needs a new editor.

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

Unlike the majority of American bishops who have weighed in publicly about Barack Obama recently, the Vatican's own newspaper, L ' Osservatore Romano, has been bullish on the American president (and White House aides have merrily taken note).

The latest praise comes in an interview this week between L ' Osservatore Romano 's editor-in-chief and another Italian paper (hat tip to Spiritual Politics)."[Obama] is not a pro-abortion president," said the editor, Giovanni Maria Vian, in the interview. "His speech at Notre Dame has been respectful toward every position. He tried to engage the debate stepping out from every ideological position and outside every 'confrontational mentality. "

Now, Catholic conservatives in the United States are calling for Vian's head, arguing that the paper's warmth toward Obama mocks the Roman Catholic Church's positions on abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

Deal Hudson, who runs the website InsideCatholic and who directed Catholic outreach for George W. Bush's presidential campaigns, makes the case:

Something is seriously wrong at L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. When it wrote glowingly of President Obama's first 100 days in office, everyone scratched their heads and wondered "What's going on?"

The article stated there had been no radical changes in Obama's first 100 days—"Obama does not seem to have confirmed the radical innovations that he had discussed."

There was no mention of the rescinding of the Mexico City Policy, the ending of the conscience protection for medical care workers, increased funding for abortion providers, pro-abortion appointments to key administration positions like the head of Health and Human Services. Most importantly, there was no mention of the widely-recognized White House strategy of approximating the effect of FOCA in a piecemeal fashion.

Yesterday OR published an article praising Obama at Notre Dame for seeking "common ground" on abortion. It's now clear that the paper needs a new editor....

What OR publishes should not be considered the official position of the Vatican unless it is published under the name of the appropriate Vatican archbishop or cardinal. However, it is certainly natural for the public to view anything published in the "Vatican" newspaper as having the blessing of the Curia and the Holy Father himself.

This seems to fit a pattern of conservative American Catholics becoming more outspoken in griping to the church about its behavior.