.- Responding to Cardinal Georges Cottier's recent article praising President Obama, Vatican analyst Sandro Magister has said the cardinal almost exalts Obama as âa new Constantine, the head of a modern empire that is also generous toward the Church."
In Magisterâs article, published yesterday, he casts doubt on remarks made by Cardinal Georges Cottier, 87, who lauded President Obamaâs abortion stance in the Catholic magazine, â30 Days.â
Cardinal Cottier, a Swiss Dominican who served as the official theologian of the pontifical household for several years under John Paul II, discussed two of President Obamaâs speeches: his commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame and the address at the Al-Azhar Islamic University in Cairo. The cardinal noted that in both speeches, President Obama gave âa glimpse of politics that can be usefully compared with fundamental elements of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church.â
Magister summarized Cardinal Cottier's analysis, saying that the cardinal finds âObamaâs vision highly compatible with the Catholic perspective,â and also attributes âgood and constructive intentions to him even on the minefield of abortion.â
In his article, Cardinal Cottier wrote that during Obamaâs speech at Notre Dame, âI was struck by how Obama did not avoid facing the most thorny question, that of abortion, on which he has received so many criticisms, including from the United States bishops. On the one hand, these reactions are justified: political decisions on abortion involve nonnegotiable values. For us, what is at stake is the defense of the person, of his inalienable rights, the first of which is the right to life.â
However, he continued, âin pluralistic society there are radical differences on this point. There are those who, as we do, consider abortion an âintrinsece malum,â there are those who accept it, and then there are those who assert it as a right. The president never takes this last position. On the contrary, it seems to me that he makes positive suggestions â as âLâOsservatore Romanoâ has also highlighted, on May 19 â proposing a search for common ground even in this case.â
âIn this search â Obama cautions â no one must censor his own convictions, but on the contrary must assert them before everyone, and defend them. His is not at all the mistaken relativism of those who say that these are just contrasting opinions, that all personal opinions are uncertain and subjective, and that therefore they should be set aside when speaking of these things,â wrote the cardinal.
Magister responded by saying that Cardinal Cottier âdenies that Obama can be considered âpro-abortion,â and even attributes to him the desire to âdo everything possible to make the number of abortions as small as possibleâ just as did âthe first Christian legislators, who did not immediately overturn the Roman laws that were tolerant toward practices inconsistent with or even contrary to the natural law, like concubinage and slavery.ââ
Futhermore, Magister critiqued, the cardinal âinvokes support from Saint Thomas Aquinas, according to whom âthe state must not enact laws that are too strict and demanding, because the people will be unable to observe them and will ignore them.ââ
In addition, Magister pointed out that Cardinal Cottier âapplauds âL'Osservatore Romanoâ for the same pro-Obama article on May 19 that infuriated so many American bishops.â
Following President Obamaâs speech at Notre Dame, âLâOsservatore Romanoâ published a positive article on his visit. Days later, the editor of the Vatican paper, Gian Maria Vian, defended Obama saying, âObama is not a pro-abortion president.â
Magister concluded his comments adding, âCardinal Cottier seems almost to exalt Obama as a new Constantine, the head of a modern empire that is also generous toward the Church.â