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Newspaper sides with US Bishops on Obama

VATICAN CITY (CNS): The Vatican newspaper has again emphasised that when it comes to the President Barack Obama administration and pro-life issues, the Vatican and the United States bishops are in full agreement and that no compromise is possible on the right to life.

The newspaper L’Osservatore Romano said it was a mistake to view its press coverage of Mr Obama – which has been positive on many issues – as evidence that the Vatican was following a “different strategy” than the US bishops in dealing with the new administration.

The comments came in the newspaper’s June 5 edition, in an article criticising the Obama administration’s restoration of federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research.

The newspaper appeared to be defending itself against accusations by some US Catholic commentators that its editorial line was too soft on Mr Obama.

In one of the latest critiques, director of social and political studies at the American Enterprise Institute Michael Novak wrote in National Review Online on May 26 that L’Osservatore had “published glowing, star-struck, teenage praise of President Barack Obama” and “seems not to grasp the fundamental realities of abortion politics in America”.

The Vatican newspaper said it wanted to underline that “in reporting on recent statements and initiatives of the President of the United States, L’Osservatore Romano has certainly not intended to express appreciation for his positions on questions of ethical importance”.

“Obviously the Holy See and L’Osservatore Romano have been, are and will be fully at the side of the US bishops in their commitment in favour of the inviolability of human life in whatever stage of its existence,” it said.

The commentary said it would be wrong to interpret the newspaper’s articles as a sign that it viewed the US bishops’ anti-abortion campaign as an exercise in partisan politics. Nor was the Vatican following a “different strategy” than that used by US bishops when it came to the inherent evil of abortion, it said.

The newspaper said Mr Obama has shown himself to be open to dialogue and that US bishops have welcomed this possibility in a positive manner. But in doing so, it said, “they have reaffirmed, and quite rightly, that in dialogue no compromise is ever possible on the fundamental question of the right to life”.

Pope Benedict XVI and the President and expected to meet in July.

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