Gian Maria Vian, editor of L’Osservatore Romano, commented to the Register about the controversy (detailed here) surrounding the paper’s coverage of President Obama.
Is L’Osservatore Romano in agreement with those bishops of the United States who were opposed to Obama being honored by the University of Notre Dame?
“L’Osservatore Romano always stands by different episcopates, and on this point, naturally, in our reports on international religious news, we support the positions of United States’ bishops. This is much more the case when it concerns serious and sensitive issues such as abortion, which the Second Vatican Council in “Gaudium et Spes” (No. 51) has defined as an abominable crime.”
You said that Obama is not pro-abortion, yet he has already passed legislation that will fund abortions throughout the world. What is your response to accusations of being “in the dark” about the U.S. abortion issue, and that you do not understand that many bishops and Catholics see this issue differently in the United States compared to Europe?
“As I said in an interview with the Italian newspaper il Riformista, the Vatican newspaper is fully behind the bishops of the United States, and then I expressed my personal hope that the radical statements expressed before his election won’t be confirmed. But I don’t sense that L’Osservatore Romano is expressing views different from those of the Holy See, views which are opposed to any policy in favor of abortion, at a national and international level.”
Does this perceived “soft line” on the president given in L’Osservatore Romano emanate from Secretary of State officials who, perhaps, want to see Obama visit the Pope in July?
“Any talk about a supposedly soft line in the Vatican newspaper is only a reconstruction by those who have an interest in dividing Catholics, those who imagine the Holy See is opposed to American bishops. Our task is to inform and form opinions. We publish with the cooperation and understanding of the Secretary of State, that is clear, but we have never wanted to, nor intended to, substitute their work.”
See also: ”Vatican Clarifies Obama Stance”