VATICAN CITY (RNS) The official Vatican newspaper emphatically denied that its friendly coverage of President Barack Obama reflects any tolerance of his support for legalized abortion and embryonic stem cell research.
“In reporting on some recent statements and initiatives of the president of the United States, L’Osservatore Romano certainly did not intend to express appreciation for his positions on ethical questions,” said an unsigned article in the paper’s June 5 edition.
“Obviously the Holy See and L’Osservatore Romano have been, are, and will be standing side by side with the bishops of the United States in their commitment to the inviolability of human life in whatever stage of its existence.”
Known as the “pope’s newspaper,” L’Osservatore is under the direct authority of the Secretariat of State, which directs the Vatican’s diplomatic relations, and reportedly vets articles on sensitive topics before publication.
The paper’s coverage of Obama has been consistently friendly, and at times openly enthusiastic, since his election last November.
But according to Massimo Franco, a Rome-based expert on U.S.-Vatican relations and author of the book “Parallel Empires,” the newspaper’s statement is evidence of tension between the Vatican and American church leaders.
“We see that the division of labor between the Vatican and the U.S. bishops with respect to Obama is not so easy to carry out without conflict,” Franco said.
On the other hand…As CNS reports, the Vatican media apparatus was in big love mode over Obama’s Cairo speech yesterday–joining almost everyone in the sentient world except certain conservatives. At First Things, Elizabeth “The Anchoress” Scalia has a rambling roundup of the corner of disgruntlement.