Vatican on Sebelius? Pax Romana…

The Holy See doesn’t seem to be getting its rochet in a twist–yet–over Kathleen Sebelius. Religion News Service’s man in Rome, Francis X. Rocca, writes in an RNS blog post titled “Vatican [heart] Obama?” that items in L’Osservatore Romano on consecutive days “suggest that the Holy See is sending friendly signals to the Obama White House, despite strong differences over abortion and embryonic stem cell research…”

Rocca writes:

“Yesterday’s edition featured a short item about HHS Secretary-designate Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic whose bishop has told her not to receive Communion on account of her support for abortion rights. The Osservatore article mentioned neither Sebelius’s faith nor her stand on abortion, which could mean that the Vatican doesn’t expect American Catholics to make an issue out of either.


More explicitly favorable is an article in today’s paper praising Obama’s proposed budget for its heavy spending on welfare and health care. According to the unsigned article: ‘After a decade of exaltation of individual enrichment, today the USA, struck by the economic crisis, is witnessing instead the pressing resurgence of the values of solidarity.’

If I were Obama’s Catholic liaison, I’d start circulating that quotation right now.”

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posted March 5, 2009 at 8:03 pm

The Vatican may realize that they really have no say in Obama’s appointments, thus not wasting their time by objecting to Sebelius. Also there are many American Catholics who approve of her appointment.

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lover of life

posted March 5, 2009 at 9:43 pm

I believe humanity is in such horrendous shape because there are some not willing to fight for the most vulnerable of us…those that have been conceived, but not allowed to be born. YES, I AM CATHOLIC AND I AM PRO-LIFE. I BELIEVE THAT LIFE STARTS AT CONCEPTION!

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posted March 5, 2009 at 11:58 pm

The Peace of Rome (Pax Romana) is of pagan origin. Peace as understood by the Catholic Church is found in the Gloria Major: “ . . .Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.” translated “Peace on earth to men of goodwill”. Given their official position on Life, there is no one in the Obama administration – Catholic or otherwise – with “goodwill”. Why would the Vatican try to make “peace” with the successors to Herod?

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Gerard Nadal

posted March 6, 2009 at 12:31 am

The Vatican cannot and will not attempt to interfere with a local Bishop disciplining a notorious Catholic public official like Governor Sebelius. The Pope is first among equals and only interferes to correct abuses.
Rome is being consistent with its past approach of praising world leaders when they show solidarity with the poor and the least, and taking them to task when they do not.
Rome doesn’t pile on when a Catholic has been disciplined by their Bishop. The objective is to guide the wayward home, not crush them under the Papal heel.
In using her position to defend the status quo on abortion, rather than exercise her right to work within the system for changing this unjust law that has sent 50+ million humans to their deaths, Governor Sebelius is complicit in many of those deaths. Her discipline by Bishop Naumann is meant to convey the lack of eternal communion with Christ that awaits her if she does not cease protecting this travesty of justice. If she is serious about eternity, she should take heed.
That her policies may have reduced abortions by 10% does not remove her complicity in protecting the institution that killed the other 90%.

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Robert Mickens

posted March 6, 2009 at 2:32 am

Not so fast.
L’Osservatore Romano actually printed two pieces on the Sebelius appointment in its issue for Wednesday, March 4th — the first, a small news blurb on p. 2; the second, a fuller background story datelined Washington on p. 7.
It is correct that neither mentioned that she is a Catholic.
However, the piece on p. 7 focused exclusively on the controversy the Sebelius appointment has caused among pro-life groups and specifically mentioned Archbishop Naumann’s numerous criticisms. It did not mention that he has forbid from receiving Communion, however.

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Francis X. Rocca

posted March 6, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Thanks to Robert Mickens for the correction. It pays to read carefully all the way through …
But I do wonder if the Vatican’s enthusiasm about Obama’s health spending will help the White House win Catholic support, despite the non-negotiable objection to abortion.

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posted March 6, 2009 at 7:08 pm

The Vatican is playing “Good Cop, Bad Cop” (with the local Bishops being the Bad Cops). The Vatican, as an independent nation, cannot afford to politically ignore the Obama Administration. Further, more money pours into the Vatican Coffers from America, than from any other nation on this planet.
It’s all about money, folks! It has nothing to do with any religious demension. The Vatican knows what side its bread is buttered on.

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Your Name

posted March 7, 2009 at 12:49 pm

As the Vicar of Christ, the Pope certainly has an interest in the souls of everyone in the world. Of course, America, being a world leADER, HAS A GREAT INFLUENCE IN THE REST OF THE WORLD SO WHATEVER THIS ADMINISTRATION does has a direct effect on the world.In spite of what some may think. it’s about souls, not about money.

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bill bannon

posted March 8, 2009 at 12:37 am

These last two Popes for all their reputation for being hard liners…fail to distinguish between pastoral care of the individual versus the priority of the commonwealth that an actual leader is supposed to prefer. Since the Bishops have done near nothing about Catholic pro-choice pols ever since Cuomo two or three decades ago
then it is the Pope’s responsibility to do something now that the local Bishops have failed. Pastoral care is beside the point when there is public scandal. During the 1960’s for 8 years, the Malta labor movement was under interdict…and its fellow travelers could not receive the sacraments…all of them including marriage.
The Popes could do that with pro choice pols but do not because they are very tied into image creating. The bizarre move toward opposing the death penalty (supported for gentiles in Gen.9:6 and Rom,13:3-4) was just that: seek to win over liberals on abortion by giving them a bone by agreeing with them on the death penalty. That went well. Six Catholic countries are in the top 12 murder rate countries and Mexico which has no death penalty is almost a narco state…but who’s noticing. Men are being killed in prison by gang lifers….but Rome drones on about the beauties of modern penology.
Rome and the Pope should be solving most of the problems enumerated on the blogs month after month but they are currying the image of the hands off…gentler than thou leader….so that the Orthodox and Protestants will not fear rejoining us.

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