Several of Barack Obama’s policies are bound to provoke the wrath of the Vatican. During George W. Bush’s administration, U.S.-Vatican relations strengthened more than ever before, culminating in a visit from the pope in April this year. But all that will change when America’s most liberal senator takes his post as president.
“The first thing I will do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act,” said Mr. Obama at an address before Planned Parenthood on July 17, 2007. But if Obama signs this in his first month of office, it “would be the equivalent of a war,” according to a senior Vatican official.
The Freedom of Choice Act would codify Roe v. Wade as federal law. Abortion would be funded by taxpayers in every state, with no restrictions. Late-term abortions would be legal in every state, and parental notification laws would be removed. Catholics are worried the law could also force Catholic hospitals to undertake abortions.
Obama has a history of being very much “pro-choice.” He even opposed a ban on partial-birth abortion and, in the Chicago state legislature, voted against legislation protecting babies born in botched abortions.
Naturally, Catholics loyal to Rome are not happy about laws that contravene one of their fundamental beliefs.
J. Francis Stafford, one of the highest-ranking American cardinals at the Vatican, said Obama has “an agenda and vision that are aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic.” He also said, “I foresee the next several years as being among the most divisive in our nation’s history.”
Abortion isn’t the only issue of contention. Recently, a federal appeals court ruled that a lawsuit regarding sex abuse by Catholic priests could proceed, despite the fact that the Vatican is a sovereign state.
Obama also wants to reverse U.S. legislation in order to allow stem-cell research to proceed, something the Vatican opposes.
When Italy’s leader at the time, Romano Prodi, opposed the Vatican, the Vatican had him removed. In Spain, the Catholic Church has had its sights set on Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s pro-abortion government, but has not succeeded in taking it down—yet. In America, however, the Vatican does not have enough power to oppose a pro-abortion government from within. Fifty-four percent of Catholics refused to toe the party line and actually voted for Obama. The Vatican doesn’t hold the same sway over the American public as it does over its constituents in Europe.
Instead, watch for the Vatican now to resist America from outside. The Catholic Church is gaining power over world governments. Europe is leaning more toward Catholicism, and the Vatican is trying to slowly garner allies overseas. Latin America is the most catholicized landmass in the world.
Cuba, once an outpost of atheistic communism, is one of the latest countries to embrace Catholicism. In 1959, Cuba essentially outlawed religion, though not officially. Many Catholic priests were expelled or put into labor camps. But since 1992, Cuba has gradually been returning to the fold. This week, President Raul Castro arrived unannounced at the beatification ceremony of the 19th-century friar Jose Olallo, marking a substantial improvement in relations between Cuba and the Vatican. In fact, Raul Castro’s first foreign visitor after he took over the presidency earlier this year was the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
Soon the Catholic Church will emerge as the leading influence in both Europe and Latin America. Abortion will be illegal. Sunday observance will be compulsory.
So Barack Obama is in fact making a dangerous enemy for the United States: a militant, catholicized EU, with allies in South America and bases in Cuba. While America turns away from catholicism, that powerful religion is rising in the rest of the world. To find out where this will lead, see our article “A Warning From the Pope.” ▪