Sunday, 24 May 2009

More on L'Osservatore

George Weigel has published an article about L'Osservatore Romano in National Review Online. (See: Parsing the Vatican Newspaper. It doesn’t always speak for the pope.) Fr Z commented on the article a couple of days ago. (See: Weigel on L’Osservatore Romano’s “fideist credulity”)

Weigel takes the line that although the newspaper is published by the Holy See, it "does not speak authoritatively for the Church in matters of faith, morals, or public-policy judgment", and that it is middle and lower-level officials who are enamoured of Barack Obama. He also discusses "the Vatican", saying that it is a confused bureaucracy and that "what counts is what is said by the Bishop of Rome."

This is fair enough up to a point and I can only commend George Weigel's loyalty to the Holy Father which I entirely share. Nevertheless, I think that this series of pro-Obama articles show that there are serious problems at the Vatican. L'Osservatore is the official newspaper of the Holy See and falls, for practical purposes, under the direction of the Secretariat of State. If it is true, as Weigel says, (and I agree) that "several recent pieces on the Obama administration in L’Osservatore Romano have been both factually questionable and analytically dubious" then that reflects badly on the Holy Father who exercises his pastoral ministry through the various departments of the Vatican, including the Secretariat of State and - well yes - L'Osservatore Romano.

Recent controversies have been harmful to the ministry of the Holy Father: the Williamson affair, the furious reaction to his mild and reasonable questioning of the effectiveness of condoms in the fight against HIV, and the appointment at Linz. It could be that his enemies now feel that it is "open season" and that his authority is weakened.

If so, that is wholly foolish on their part. Soft negotiating with Obama (or Tony Blair for that matter) will not help the Church but will assist the secularists in ushering in a new age of persecution, laughing as they see no effective resistance from the one organisation that could challenge their worldly consensus.

We must pray for the Holy Father. In doing so, it is worth remembering that St Vincent Ferrer pointed out that prayer for the Pope is not the same as prayer for any other individual. In the case of the Vicar of Christ, prayer is an appeal to his immediate superior.
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