Thursday, April 16, 2009

President Obama insults the Holy See

Cranmer is now receiving regular emails from The White House, and is most impressed by the quality, frequency and generosity of these briefings, especially since he was not and is not (and never shall be) a supporter of President Obama.
It transpires that there is something of a stand-off between The White House and The Vatican. Traditionally (that is since 1984), the US Ambassador to the Holy See has been i) Roman Catholic and ii) anti-abortion (or ‘pro-life’). President Obama has suggested three names to the Holy See (including that of Caroline Kennedy, daughter of John F Kennedy), all of whom fulfil criterion ‘i’ but none of whom meet person specification ‘ii’ – they are all ‘pro-choice’.

One would think the President might have learnt that this is non-negotiable. When attempts were made to install ‘pro-choice’ Professor Douglas Kmiec as US Ambassador to the Vatican, an official from the Vatican's Secretary of State department did not wait for the stony ground to gradually extinguish the green shoots of compromise, preferring Weedol to do the job in hours.

The Kennedy clan adheres to its own version of Catholicism. Locally, their churches benefit from the Kennedy coffers. Local priests apparently do not object to their decidedly anti-Catholic and very public support of abortion. No doubt about it, money talks when you are a Kennedy. But the Pope sees things rather differently. The Vatican has a slight problem with ‘politicians who describe themselves as Catholic’ and who refuse to ‘act accordingly’. Archbishop Raymond Burke, prefect of the Vatican’s Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, has referred to the Democratic Party as ‘a party of death’ and has fiercely criticised Vice President Biden for misrepresenting Church teaching on abortion. The Archbishop has no time for those who ‘while presenting themselves as good Catholics, have presented Church doctrine on abortion in a false and tendentious way’.

It is unthinkable that Pope Benedict XVI (or indeed any pope) might accept an ambassador who supported infanticide, especially when it includes the grotesque ‘live birth abortion’ much favoured by President Obama. Yet it is equally unthinkable that the President of the United States of America should be dictated to by ‘religious extremists’ with ‘entrenched attitudes’ which are ‘out of step with public opinion’.

After all, President Obama won an election with a majority of US Roman Catholics supporting him. As we know, his views 'echo the Pope's teachings', and his Vice President, Joe Biden, is a loyal and faithful Catholic.

The impasse threatens to cloud the President’s meeting with the Pope during the G8 summit in Italy in July. Perhaps the President should engage the mediatory diplomatic services of His Holiness Tony Blair. If anyone can find a ‘Third Way’ between ‘Semper Eadem’ and ‘Anything Goes’, it is he.


Anonymous the recusant said...

From St Mary Magdalen Fr Ray:

The Holy See has always set a very simple standard: the person should not be in opposition to fundamental teachings of the Church that belong to our common shared humanity. He or she may not believe in Catholic dogma if he or she is not a Catholic, but we could not accept someone who is in favor of abortion, or (human) cloning or same-sex unions equated to marriage.

That is a fairly simple principle that governments like, say, Spain and Cuba, or Mr. Clinton's administration, have been able to understand without a problem.

16 April 2009 at 09:25  
Anonymous Jaz said...

I don't see that America, or any other country for that matter, should allow another nation to dictate who it sends as its ambassador. If the pope doesn't like it, then tough luck on the pope.

16 April 2009 at 09:28  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Your Grace.
It seems that the leader of the Tony Blair Faith foundation & the president of the U.S.A are in agreement over abortion & the R.C church needing to change, perhaps Pope Tony is not so far fetched after all? The false prophet seemed to have some political clout & great Oaks from little acorns grow.

16 April 2009 at 09:51  
Blogger ProudGeordie said...

So not only does Tony B'Liar assume to tell the Pope he is wrong about homosexuality, but Obama thinks Catholocism is wrong about abortion?

Arrogant bastard socialists think they can spread their anti-religous bile wherever they tread. B'liar should be kicked out of the church he only joined to pad out his application for World Leader.

He will be a Moslem by 2015, mark my words

16 April 2009 at 10:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He had no problems with Blair becoming a Catholic, after he introduced easier abortions in Britain, after promoting homosexuality and after the murderous invasion of other nations.
The policies of the American President have got nothing to do with an ex Hitler Youth. He wants to clean up his own act first and stop condemning Africans to the spread of Aids through the promotion of Bronze Age Supertitious Dogma.
Never trust a man in a dress, who enjoys being worshipped and whose minions protect paedophiles.

16 April 2009 at 10:36  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

I think the Pope is under siege and he knows it. I am not sure if Cherie knows that Tony has a hidden agenda, but he definitely didn't convert out of any sense of Christian piety. He knew he could force himself on the Pope and then start spinning his web.

As for Obama, he is a huge error of judgment which will soon become apparent.

What ever the shortcomings are with regards to Rome, I know who's side will benefit from the divine in all of this. I am looking forward to the developments with great interest. The walls are rapidly closing in on this scum. They will soon reach a dangerousness point where they will be like cornered rats, but I have faith that things are being taken care of. I remember cornering a rat in a public toilet once, it suddenly ran at me and I kicked out in instinct and caught it full in the teeth: It expired immediately. I have this streak in me you know, but I am under divine supervision, luckily!

16 April 2009 at 11:26  
Blogger Harry Hook said...

Copy and paste if Susan Boyle brought you here

16 April 2009 at 11:39  
Anonymous Simon said...

His Grace has been rather quiet on pro-life issues of late (not that there hasn't been anything else to talk about of course). I was disappointed that he missed the opportunity to comment on this story

Perhaps His Grace could reassure us unambiguously that he would not have permitted an abortion even in this case?

16 April 2009 at 11:45  
Blogger Forlornehope said...

It is always interesting how political orientation seems to spill over into moral priorities. Many on the left try to worm their way around the Catholic Church's absolute view on abortion. On the other hand many at the other end of the political spectrum find it convenient to ignore what the Church teaches on the posession of nuclear weapons and on the use of the death penalty in a developed society; this is not to mention the whole raft of social teaching over the last century.

16 April 2009 at 11:57  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

Len come back, you are making me nervous. I am autistic mate, I can't help it.

16 April 2009 at 12:37  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

Jaz, are you familiar with the term agrement? It's standard diplomatic procedure. More here:

16 April 2009 at 12:45  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

Maybe the Pope should comment on the goings on at Bohemian Grove, that might shut Blair and Obama up.

16 April 2009 at 12:51  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

Forlornhope, statements made by churchmen, even the Pope, on matters such as the death penality and nuclear weapons are important but are not fundamental to Catholic belief. In other words, all Catholics are at liberty to disagree with these views. Not so with infanticide and abortion.

16 April 2009 at 12:52  
Blogger Carl Gardner said...

I think this is a disgrace: the US should decide who its own ambassadors are, not the Vatican. I know it's okay for a recipient state to object in some circumstances to a proposed ambassador - but that right should be exercised very rarely, for instance on grounds that the person is a criminal. The US wouldn't subject the Vatican's envoy to an ideological test - the Pope is abusing his rights here.

If I were Obama I'd refuse to make any other appointment, send the Pope's man (and it will be a man I guess) home and suspend any consultation with the Catholic church on policy.

16 April 2009 at 13:43  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

Carl Gardner, if the US and the Holy See were to reciprocally withdraw their ambassadors, would that somehow be favourable to the US and unfavourable to the Holy See? It seems to be what you're suggesting.

16 April 2009 at 14:03  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I think this is a disgrace: the US should decide who its own ambassadors are, not the Vatican. You are arrogant. Letters of Accreditation are presented and may be refused. It is an Ambassador not a Governor-General....perhaps whjen Americans learn they are not Occupiers but Guests in other countries the world will be less incensed by their arrogant behaviour

In the meantime refer to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

Article 4

1. The sending State must make certain that the agrément of the receiving State has been given for the person it proposes to accredit as head of the mission to that State.
2. The receiving State is not obliged to give reasons to the sending State for a refusal of agrément.

Article 9

1. The receiving State may at any time and without having to explain its decision, notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable. In any such case, the sending State shall, as appropriate, either recall the person concerned or terminate his functions with the mission. A person may be declared non grata or not acceptable before arriving in the territory of the receiving State.
2. If the sending State refuses or fails within a reasonable period to carry out its obligations under paragraph 1 of this Article, the receiving State may refuse to recognize the person concerned as a member of the mission.
Perhaps if The US State Department could refresh itself on Protocol we would not see bumbling amateurs from Foggy Bottom stumbling around the world stage like bumpkins from a provincial backwater.....and maybe Clinton and Obama could act in accordance with diplomatic niceties before they antagonise any other nations having so far antagonised Germany and France with ineptitude and attempts to inflame the upcoming EU parliamentary elections

16 April 2009 at 18:04  
Blogger Sue said...

This could very well be a difficult problem for Obama. Does he know anyone who is pro-life? Or better yet, if he does know someone who is pro-life, would he trust them enough to send them into the enemy camp?

Make no mistake, anything to do with even one conservative notion is the enemy to this administration.

Yesterday, as hundreds of thousands of us gathered together in "tea parties" to protest the policies of this man, his Director of Homeland Security put out a nationwide Security Notice to law enforcement that said basically, anyone who shows the slightest conservative inclination is to be suspected and watched.

Similar notices went out under the Bush Administration regarding leftist organizations like ELF and the like, but what has upset conservatives and moderate Democrats the most is that military personnel returning from Iraq were particularly targeted as the most dangerous. As the mother of a daughter serving in the Navy, this particularly upsets me.

Trying to send abortion proponents to the Vatican is no big shock to those of us who are watching the rapid colapse of our Republic. This man has 2 years before the next Congressinal elections to turn us into something else. He can do anything he wants.


16 April 2009 at 18:56  
Blogger ZZMike said...

One problem might be that it is not possible to find a Democrat fulfilling all three requirements. They are rarer than hummingbird's tusks.

There's a deeper problem here. Here's a line from the CNA article on Kmiec's appointment:

"But most importantly, the official said, is that the Holy See will not risk alienating vital U.S. Catholic organizations like the Knights of Columbus or the American branch of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, "whose role in the life of the universal Church is decisive, and who have already expressed publicly their disappointment with Kmiec's role in the recent elections."

If, as we know, Catholics supported Obama by a good margin, does this mean that the Knights of Columbus, &c., are out of step with mainline Catholics?

I note that commentor Jaz is a born diplomat.

Simon asks a good question.

I'd say that Archbishop Sobrinho is a fundamentalist Catholic. We cannot argue with his logic: "the law of God was above any human law", but I cannot believe that Jesus would make the same judgement.

Taking a larger view, it really doesn't make sense to make a rule that applies in absolutely every situation. Even "abortion is not permitted". It may always be wrong, but it is not always unwarranted (there may be a better word than that, but I can't think of it).

Perhaps Gardner might wish to study up on what the functions and duties of an ambassador are. I'm a little sketchy myself, but I believe the initial negotiation goes something like this:

Country A, to Country B: We'd like to send you Mr Arbuthnot as our ambassador.

Country B (after examining his credintials): We accept.

If Country B objects, Country A proposes someone else.

Thanks to Voyager for providing the relevant background. Your description of Foggy Bottom is dismal (as in swamp), but unfortunately accurate.

There's another long thread (which I won't follow) about how Ambassadorial appointments have been much overused as a patronage payout. Both Bush and Clinton have appointed large campaign donors as ambassadors.

Sue also gets it - from this side of the Pond.

16 April 2009 at 23:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Catholics that voted for Obama voted for Death for millions of innocent unborn. May god have mercy on your souls when you die.

I could not sleep at night if I knew I voted for a murderer of babies. You can try to hide but in the eyes of god you are guilty with Obama.

17 April 2009 at 06:17  
Blogger Carl Gardner said...

Hank, I do reckon it'd do the US no harm to have an empty ambassadorial chair in the Vatican, yes. I'm not sure how much ambassadors really matter in these days of mass communications, constant communications between capitals, easy travel and constant summitry. And certainly, the Vatican isn't high on the list of states Washington needs to be plugged into. So I doubt it's the end of the world. I think it matters more for the Vatican to be present in Washington, and I don't think it's sensible of them to take Washington on like this.

Voyager, maybe I am arrogant, maybe I'm not (I don't think so) but I certainly don't like blogging and commentary to descend into personal remarks, so please let's not go there. I'm simply giving my view, as you are, and I'm not making personal remarks about you. For what it's worth it seems to me it's the Pope who's being arrogant here.

Yes, the Vatican has the right to reject any proposed US Amabassador. I said in my own comment that it has that right. So citing the Vienna Convention takes us nowhere. The receiving state doesn't have to give reasons for its rejection, but I think it's abuse for the Pope to reject candidates on purely ideological grounds. What would he think if Washington - which has exactly the same right to reject the Vatican's ambassador or nuncio - declared him persona non grata because he's pro-life?

If the Pope wants to be able to select a nuncio in Washington who agrees with his views on abortion, and expects President Obama to accept that, then equally, President Obama has the right to select a US ambassador in the Vatican who agrees with his own views, not the Pope's.

I thought Christian teaching was "do as you would be done by".

18 April 2009 at 15:28  

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