Monday 26 January 2009

Vatican condemnation of Obama's "arrogance" is well-judged

It's the morning after the night before as the world wakes up to the terrible reality of Barack Obama's presidency of the US.

In a well-judged response, the Vatican has been swift to pronounce a severe judgement on one of Obama's first presidential decisions: to sign an order to "aggressively promote" abortion as a tool of population control in developing countries - as I explained in my blog "The party's over ... " last week.

The BBC reports that: "Senior Vatican official Monsignor Rino Fisichella (pictured), President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, urged Mr Obama to listen to all voices in America without 'the arrogance of those who, being in power, believe they can decide of life and death' ... If this is one of President Obama's first acts, I have to say, in all due respect, that we're heading quickly toward disappointment".

His predecessor, Monsignor Eli Sgreccia, put it even more strongly, likening Obama's policy to that of King Herod and his slaughter of the innocents.

These strength of the Vatican's response to Barack Obama's action is well-judged, in view of the gravity of the situation. In addition, the new President has promised to sign the Freedom of Choice Act which seeks to compel medical professionals to provide abortions, with no opt-outs for conscientious objection. Such presidential action will only serve to strengthen moves elsewhere in the world - the Philippines, Kenya, the European Institutions, and Britain - where attacks on conscientious objection are either proposed (as in the Philippines and in Kenya); are government policy or enshrined in legislation (as in Britain) or are being powerfully promoted (as in the European institutions).

As I've mentioned before, peaceful resistance is the way forward for the pro-life movement worldwide - as well as continuing our existing educational, political, and compassionate caring work. SPUC's campaign of peaceful resistance is focused on resisting euthanasia at the bedside and the Society's Safe at School campaign. Please contact me at for further details.

In addition, later this week SPUC is launching its campaign to make the right to life a top priority issue at the next general election. Abortion, euthanasia, IVF and embryo research cannot be dismissed as a "single issue" of no more significance than any other social justice issue. As Bishop Sgreccia says: we're fighting against the "slaughter of the innocents" and it's time for the campaign strategy of the pro-life movement, which includes our supporters in the faith communities, fully to reflect that reality.