Obama on abortion

Here's something I was not expecting to read today. This is an excerpt from a blog post by John L. Allen, Jr., of NCR:
In the run-up to President Barack Obama’s much-anticipated July 10 meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, an influential cardinal and Vatican adviser has praised Obama’s “humble realism” and compared the president’s approach to abortion to the thinking of St. Thomas Aquinas and early Christian tradition about framing laws in a pluralistic society.

Swiss Cardinal George Cottier, 87, former theologian of the papal household under Pope John Paul II, laid out those views in a cover essay in the current issue of 30 Giorni, perhaps the most widely read journal of Catholic affairs in Italy.

Styled as an analysis of two Obama speeches – his May 17 commencement address at the University of Notre Dame and his June 4 speech to the Islamic world in Cairo – Cottier’s essay was overwhelmingly positive, repeatedly arguing that Obama’s “realism”, as well as his commitment to finding “common ground”, resonate with Christian tradition and the social teaching of the Catholic church.

Seen through American eyes, perhaps the most striking element was Cottier’s analysis of what Obama had to say at Notre Dame. The university’s decision to invite Obama, and to award him an honorary degree, were widely criticized in Catholic circles in the States, given Obama’s positions on abortion, embryonic stem cell research and other life issues. More than 80 bishops publicly objected to the event.

Cottier, however, compared Obama’s Notre Dame address to Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Ecclesiam Suam, in its accent on dialogue and common ground, and to the document Dignitatis Humanae of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) on conducting the search for truth in a pluralistic society. Christians, Cottier wrote, “can be in agreement” with Obama’s “way of framing the search for solutions.”
Such progressive thinking, and from a Cardinal and Vatican advisor! As I write this, no comments have appeared yet on the site. I'm trying to anticipate what the response will be from our usually-quite-predictable brothers and sisters on the right. This is not someone who can be dismissed as a liberal or a dissident.

I strongly recommend reading the whole thing.

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