Vatican Message to Obama on Election Includes Warning on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 7, 2012   |   7:44PM   |   Washington, DC

The Vatican has a message for President Barack Obama: congratulations on your re-election but get your act together on the issue of abortion and curtailing religious freedoms.

Pope Benedict XVI congratulated Obama but said he prayed the ideals of freedom and justice that guided America’s founders would be respected. The Vatican did not release the full text of the message the Catholic leader sent to Obama but talked about it.

“In the message, the Holy Father sent his best wishes to the president for his new term and assured him of his prayers that God might assist him in his very great responsibility before the country and the international community,” the Vatican said in a statement. The Pope also said he hoped “the ideals of liberty and justice that guided the founders of the United States of America might continue to shine.”

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told the Catholic News Service that the Vatican hopes that Obama would also promote “a culture of life and religious freedom.” It hopes Obama would “respond to the expectations” of the American people and “serve law and justice for the well-being and growth of every person, by respecting essential human and spiritual values and by promoting the culture of life and religious freedom, which have always been so precious in the tradition of the American people and their culture.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops had a similar message for Obama, releasing its full letter to the president:

Dear President Obama,

In my capacity as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I write to express my congratulations on your re-election as President of the United States. The people of our country have again entrusted you with a great responsibility. The Catholic Bishops of the United States offer our prayers that God will give you strength and wisdom to meet the difficult challenges that face America.

In particular, we pray that you will exercise your office to pursue the common good, especially in care of the most vulnerable among us, including the unborn, the poor, and the immigrant. We will continue to stand in defense of life, marriage, and our first, most cherished liberty, religious freedom. We pray, too, that you will help restore a sense of civility to the public order, so our public conversations may be imbued with respect and charity toward everyone.



May God bless you and Vice President Biden as you prepare for your second term in service to our country and its citizens.

Sincerely yours,
Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The Catholic blog First Things noticed some changes to the letter form the 2008 version it sent, showing it toughened the language:

The opening and closing paragraphs are nearly verbatim copies of the letter from Chicago’s Francis Cardinal George to President-elect Obama in 2008.

The middle paragraphs, however, differ. Whereas Cardinal George wrote, “We stand ready to work with you in defense and support of the life and dignity of every human person,” Cardinal Dolan writes, “We will continue to stand in defense of life, marriage, and . . . religious freedom” (emphasis mine in both cases).

The bishops wanted to work with the president in 2008; on the crucial issues Cardinal Dolan names they are now, of necessity, standing in defense against him.