As noted here…
President Obama is probably not itching for a fight over abortion. But he might get one. With unusual speed, the Vatican has condemned Obama's Jan. 23 repeal of the ban on U.S. funding for foreign family planning aid groups who offer abortion services.“With unusual speed” is an understatement; I mean, Obama was just sworn in last week!
The repeal fulfils a campaign promise Obama made to pro-choice supporters. But if the late Friday afternoon signing was an attempt to get the change in under the radar, it didn't work. Top Vatican officials, usually hesitant to respond directly to Washington's domestic policy decisions, pounced quickly. By Saturday afternoon, the Holy See was emailing reporters the Sunday edition of its official daily, L'Osservatore Romano, which features a front page headline describing Obama's decision as "very disappointing."
(And by the way, please do not forget that we’re talking about a man who said that Orthodox churches were “defective” because they didn’t recognize the primacy of the pope, called for a return to the Tridentine Latin rite mass which advocates the conversion of Jews to Catholicism, dismissed the Vatican’s chief astronomer for correctly pointing out that “intelligent design” isn’t science, issued a “Ten Commandments for Drivers” – “thou shalt not text while signaling for a left turn”?? – and once called Bob Dylan a “false prophet,” all of which is noted here.)
I would also note the directness of Benedict’s remarks, criticizing Obama by name, whereas any criticisms of Dubya (re., Iraq, capital punishment) were couched in less explicit terms, not even mentioning President Highest Disapproval Rating In Gallup Poll History personally (and I think we should also recall the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s association with Neil Bush in a “management trust” that could have “masquerade(ed) as a religious charity (that) would be an excellent place to launder money or park assets away from the taxman's prying eyes,” according to writer Chris Floyd here).
Oh, and I forgot to note that Benny is, at heart, a climate change denier based on this. And did I also forget to mention that His Holiness also lifted the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying bishop here?
I know we’re talking about a “grab bag” of different public incidents here, and it’s hard to find an equivalency between any of them. The common thread to all of them, though, is the “vicar of Christ,” a man flawed as we all are, though perhaps more so than he would like us to believe.
Update 2/4/09: God, Benny, are you a chump (here).