VATICAN CITY (RNS) Barack Obama may not have been the Catholic hierarchy’s favored candidate in the U.S. presidential race because of his support for abortion rights, but the Vatican on Wednesday (Nov. 5) hailed his election as a “choice that unites.”
“America…is truly the country where everything can happen,” said a front-page editorial in the official Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. “America is truly the country of the new frontier … able to overcome fractures and divisions that until only recently could seem incurable.”

The article, written by Giuseppe Fiorentino, appeared next to a full-color photo of the Obama family.
Also on Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI congratulated the president-elect on the “historic occasion” of his election.
In a telegram sent to Obama via the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, Mary Ann Glendon, Benedict assured Obama of his prayers that God would assist him in his “high responsibilities in service to the nation and to the international community” and “sustain you and the beloved American people in your efforts, together with all men and women of good will, to build a world of peace, solidarity and justice.”
Obama received a similar telegram from the Vatican’s No. 2 official, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, L’Osservatore reported.
“The job of the president of the United States is a job of immense and most high responsibility, not only for his country but for the whole world,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi, head of the Vatican press office, told Vatican Radio. “Therefore we all hope that the new President Obama will be able to respond to the expectations and hopes turned toward him.”
By Francis X. Rocca
Religion News Service
Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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