L’Osservatore Romano trying to redeem itself before Pres. Obama’s visit? Taking aim at the President?

As you know, L’Osservatore Romano embarrassed itself and the Holy See several times in the last couple months either through direction by the Secretariat of State, or extreme Euro-naivete, or both, as it helped grease the skids for a meeting between Pope Benedict and Pres. Obama during the time of the G8 in Rome.

Now, just days before Pope Benedict admits the American President to his presence, L’OssRom uses the occasion of a new encyclical which interprets and proposes anew Paul VI’s magisterium, to represent Paul VI’s defense of human life as a clear and irrevocable teaching of the Church.

There can be no rupture between Paul VI’s magisterium on human life and Pope Benedict’s. 

When Pres. Obama comes to Pope Benedict, he will be in the presence of the universal shepherd and teacher, Christ’s Vicar, the greatest defender of human life on earth.

Pres. Obama should have no illusions about what faithful Catholics believe or that he can suborn them for his agenda.

Here is the L’OssRom piece with my emphases.

Progress and the defense of life

29 June 1978, the Solemnity of Peter and Paul.  For the 15th anniversary of his coronation Paul VI pronounced a homily which constitutes a true and proper net result (proprio bilancio) of his whole pontificate.  It is the last great public speech of Pope Montini and in one passage – which we are including below – recalls some points of Populorum progressio and of Humanae vitae to which in today’s Caritas in veritate there are explicit and continual references.

We consider as binding the defense of human life.  The Second Vatican Council recalled with the gravest words that "God, the Lord of life, entrusted to men the highest mission of the protection of life!" (Gaudium et spes 51).  And we, who consider our consigned instruction ("consegna") absolute fidelity to the teachings of the same Council, made as a program for our pontificate the defense of life, in all its forms in which it can be threatened, disturbed or even suppressed.

We call to mind also here those most significant points which can attest to our intention.

We have above all underscored the obligation to favor the technical-material promotion of people on the road of development, with the encyclical Populorum progressio (26 March 1967).

But the defense of life must begin from the very origins of human existence.  This was the weighty and clear teaching of the Council, which, in the pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, warned that "life, once conceived, must be protected with the greatest care; and abortion, as infanticide, are abominable crimes" (51).  We did nothing other than accept this consigned instruction ("consegna") when, ten years ago, we issued the encyclical Human vitae (25 July): inspired by the untouchable biblical and evangelical teaching, which confirms the norms of natural law and irrepressible dictates of conscience in respect to life, the transmission of which was entrusted to responsible fatherhood and motherhood, that document became today of new and even more pressing topicality for the wounds inflicted by public legislation on the indissoluble holiness of the matrimonial bond and the inviolability of human life from the mother’s womb.  From here the repeated affirmations of the doctrine of the Catholic Church on the harmful reality and the most distressing effects of divorce and of abortion, contained in our ordinary magisterium as in particular acts of the competent Congregations.  We have expressed these, moved solely by the supreme responsibility of being the universal teacher and shepherd, and for the good of the human race.

As I said, the context of the new encyclical makes it is perfectly natural to propose anew what Paul VI said about human life right now.

But President Obama is also coming for an audience with Pope Benedict.

What do you think?

Coincidence?  Is this a shift?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Hidden One says:

    I think that somebody is trying to keep his job. Whether or not that somebody or somebodies has gotten an explicit warning or a tongue-lashing I don’t know.

    Or maybe L’OR is just that out of touch with Obama’s policies. Or pretendign that The Wun is pro-life still.

  2. Agnes says:

    You nailed it – greasing the skids.


  3. wmeyer says:

    I think that Obama will be as he was at Notre Shame. I hope that if he is as unreceptive to the words of the Holy Father as was Ms. Pelosi, we will not see a photo of Obama with Pope Benedict. That said, I wonder if the Vatican will be as resolute with public signals when the visitor is the president of a country.

    As to a possible shift at L’OR, I would suppose that they may feel they have little room for deviation from the spirit and letter of doctrine, so close to the publication of an encyclical. Or, as the Hidden One suggests, someone may have received a serious reprimand.

  4. P. McGrath says:

    To follow up on WMeyer: It is CRITICAL that there NOT be a photograph or video of Obama and Pope Benedict. The IMAGE of the two meeting sends the graphical message: The Pope Approves the Obama Abortion Policies.

    Again, remember how there were no photographs of Pelosi meeting Pope Benedict? Same deal here.

    However, if they slip up and allow such a “photo op,” the only way that it can be counteracted is by a direct, public, unambiguous denunciation of the Obama Abortion Policies to his face. No nuances; they can be “spun.” It needs to have the rhetorical level of the Syllabus of Errors, or the Regensburg Address on plutonium steroids.

  5. Cel says:

    Maybe it finally dawned on someone there who their boss’s boss is. :0

    As for pictures, as mentioned, it may be difficult to avoid since this a meeting between heads of state. It is also different from the Polosi meeting in that Obama is not a Catholic. That said, the only picture I want to see is one of Papa taking O by the ear, pulling him down to his height and giving him a stern wherefore. I could also settle for the Pope presenting him with a Syllabus of Errors.

  6. irishgirl says:

    P. McGrath-I’m with you!

    No photo op of Obama with the Holy Father!

    “Regensburg Address on plutonium steriods”-oooo, I like that one!

  7. Hidden One says:

    I could settle with Pope Benedict giving him annotated copies of Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae and maybe an annotated copy of the Compendium – Obama certainly hasn’t the time to read an annotated Catechism.

  8. mpm says:

    I did not vote for our current President, but I fully expect, and even hope,
    that Pope Benedict will appear in photos with him.

    Of course, the Pope will be photographed with the Head of State of the U.S.
    that’s why the Pope has Vatican City State. There will be no bad consequen-
    ces, and why cannot our black brothers and sisters enjoy the pride of seeing
    that moment?

    When it comes time to get practical at the UN conferences, you can bet the Holy
    See will stand up to the anti-human proposals of this administration, just as
    the Pope outlined them in the recent Encyclical.

  9. Hidden One says:

    mpm, I really, REALLY hope that your first two paragraphs are sarcastic.

  10. Hans says:

    Can I hope that at least one of the pictures that results will look like this one from Pope John Paul II’s trip to Nicaragua?

    (Those who don’t remember 1983 that well might want to see this site.)

  11. Joe from Pittsburgh says:

    You can best your last dime that The Egomaniac will try to milk this for his own political benefit.

    I don’t have to like it, but good Papa Benedetto should meet with the Egomaniac. I’m certain Papa Benedetto will do his best to keep it low key. He will be meeting with the world’s most vocal abortionist.

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