The Roman Catholic World
By MARIELENA MONTESINO de STUART
Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last — but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature . . . and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth — The Brothers Karamazov.
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A dangerous and divisive precedent is being set by the hijacking of L’Osservatore Romano, at the hands of its editor, Giovanni Maria Vian. Vian has chosen, through his editorial position, to smooth out and present a positive and speculative view of what has been President Obama’s well- established support of the culture of death.
Vian has emphasized in a positive light President Obama’s call for a “ common ground” as well as a palatable “ conscience clause” for those in the field of medicine who are against abortion. Vian has also declared that Obama “ is not an advocate of abortion.” As part of his editorial balancing act, L’Osservatore Romano has mentioned the protests at Notre Dame University, and has also criticized Obama’s support of embryonic stem-cell research.
L’Osservatore Romano benefits from having editorial independence, but it also acts “at the service of the thinking of the pope” and works closely with the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, headed by Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone.
Vian, who has been the editor of L’Osservatore Romano since September 2007, seems to overlook the fact that over 60 bishops expressed their strong indignation over Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama, as clear evidence that Catholic Americans are slowly hardening their attitude against Obama’s abortion stance. Vian, instead, has defended his benevolent view of Obama in an interview with the Italian daily, Il Riformista, which I have read in the original Italian. In this interview Vian refers to abortion as “ un terreno delicatissimo” (very delicate grounds/issue). Vian went on to say that he is reassured and clearly convinced that “ Obama non è un presidente abortista” (President Obama is not an advocate of abortion).
Vian also said to Il Riformista that “ if an Episcopal conference takes place, we naturally report what is said; however, we consider that, when appropriate, we can provide other facts related to international information, for one’s judgment.” Really — Mr. Vian, so the Vatican wants your readers to consider international opinion on the killing of babies? I wonder how His Eminence James Francis Cardinal Stafford feels about your editorial opinions. Cardinal Stafford courageously described Obama as “ aggressive, disruptive, and apocalyptic.” Cardinal Stafford also warned that Obama campaigned on an “ extremist anti-life platform.” Archbishop Raymond Burke has also stated that, “ The path of violation of the most fundamental human rights and of the integrity of marriage and the family which our nation is traveling is not accidental. As Catholics, we cannot fail to notice with the greatest sadness the number of our fellow Catholics who cooperate fully to the advancement of a national agenda which is anti- life and anti- family.”
It is indisputable that Italians have a genius quality about them. Italians are well known for the “ art of living” — and are also famous for the art of protecting their “ bella figura” — which has nothing to do with their figure, but everything to do with how the world sees them. To that end, Vian has taken his concern about his own “ bella figura” to another level — and has hijacked L’Osservatore Romano, and the Vatican along with it. He has ingratiated himself with the socialists, and has overlooked the opinions of the members of the Roman Curia and the Church’s hierarchy with one stroke of his pen — or one click of his laptop’s “ Send” button. In other words, he has appeased the barbarians.
This unrealistic approach to the needs, opinions, and realities of the American people, and in this particular case, of Catholics in America, is not foreign to me. I have dealt both professionally and socially with a great number of Europeans and Latin Americans who issue their poorly based socialist opinions with an elitist attitude that has frankly gone beyond monotonous and outdated. It has always astonished me how the socialists seem to contrive a sense of moral superiority.
This type of old socialist rhetoric is not Catholic, and does not provide anything of value to the fight for human life — by referring to abortion as a “ delicate” matter. Vian’s simplistic acceptance of Obama’s speech as a convincing turning point indicating that he is not a pro- abortion president, does not present the intellectual depth and decorum worthy of a newspaper that is “ at the service of the thinking of the pope” — nor does it represent the doctrinal and historical position of the Vatican, against this kind of weak socialist jargon.
Every Pope, from Leo XIII to Benedict XVI, has rebuked socialism, and has passionately defended human life. What Giovanni Maria Vian is doing is nothing less than participating in a “divide and conquer” agenda against, and within, the Vatican — which is the only state left in the world that can effectively argue against the socialist pro- abortion manipulations that are taking place. This is nothing but an attempt to fool the masses into thinking that a socialist has the solution for our problems — lest we forget that it was the capitalist West, aided by the Vatican, which compelled the socialist East to treat their citizens as human beings with fundamental rights, rather than as pawns in a game of chess.
Mr. Vian, in his claim that Obama “ non è un presidente abortista,” has failed to do his homework — or is simply trying to ignore some facts. Obama’s extremist voting record as a former state senator from Illinois shows that he opposed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, that was introduced to protect babies who survive botched abortions. Obama has consistently voted to defend “ pro- choice,” and has surrounded himself by cabinet members that are “ pro-choice,” including several so- called Catholics, such as former Kansas Governor, Kathleen Sebelius. Sebelius, who is now serving Obama as Secretary of Health and Human Services, was asked by Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Fred Naumann to refrain from receiving Holy Communion because of her position on abortion. During questions from the Senate Finance Committee during her April 2009 confirmation hearing, Sebelius stated that she received $12,450 between 1994 and 2001 from Dr. George Tiller — one of those infamous doctors in the United States who was involved in performing uncounted late- term abortions.
Obama has just selected Sonia Sotomayor, a probable “ pro- choice” defender, to become the next Supreme Court Justice — and Obama’s choice of Liberation Theologian and strong Obama supporter, Mario H. Diaz, as ambassador to the Holy See, is nothing but a divisive incursion into the Vatican.
With all this evidence in plain view, Giovanni Maria Vian seems convinced and content with a simplistic acceptance that Obama “is not an advocate of abortion” because the Freedom of Choice Act may not be a priority at this time in his agenda. L’Osservatore Romano has also given Obama very positive reviews during his first 100 days in office.
In Mr. Vian’s quest to educate his readers on other “ informazione internazionale,” has he considered the document written by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops titled Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship? This document states that “the direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.” This document made it very clear that abortion was the most important issue in the 2008 presidential election. It did not say that it was a “delicate issue.”
There is a key battlefront, and it is the protection of human life. The Western tradition of liberty and all the values that emanate from it, cannot stand without the passionate defense of human life. Incremental concessions to participants in the culture of death will lead to self- destruction. As historian Arnold Toynbee once said, “ Civilizations die from suicide, not murder.”
The Church is not a merchant that needs to negotiate or lower its price. The Church does not need to be moderate. We, Roman Catholics the world- over, are not detached spirits in the theater of life. We are part of an intellectual heritage that stands firm against these alien modern philosophies. Vian’s statements can strike a blow against the pro-life cause, because he is using his editorial privileges to impose an opinion which distorts the Vatican’s solid stand on the defense of human life. Fortunately, for Catholics who wish to inform themselves, the Holy See has a concrete and compelling record of the Church’s hierarchy and their tenacious voices in the protection of human life. It should put to rest any misunderstandings created by Vian’s (hopefully short lived) editorial liberties at L’Osservatore Romano.
Benedict XVI is expecting a visit from Barack Obama in July, during the G8 meetings. The fight for human life will be discussed. No international opinions will be heard. Nor will there be any competing voices, except those of the unborn — who will hear the angel of death knocking on their door.
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You may read Marielena Montesino de Stuart’s observations and opinions through:
RenewAmerica, USAToday, U.S. Politics Today (EIN News Service for Political Professionals) Poynter Online, Spero News, The New Liturgical Movement-Poland, The Naples Daily News, Les Femmes-The Truth, Culture War Notes, ProLife Blogs, The Wanderer, etc.
Copyright © Marielena Montesino de Stuart. All Rights Reserved TheRomanCatholicWorld.com
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Please also read the follow-up article https://romancatholicworld.wordpress.com/2009/06/29/further-reflection-on-the-hijacking-of-losservatore-romano-2/