During the Democratic primaries, then-candidate Barack Obama was sharply criticized for his openness to dialogue with the heads of state that have traditionally been anti-American. Attempts by Senator Hillary Clinton to portray the junior senator from Illinois as someone willing to cozy up to the likes of Kim Jong Il, Hugo Chavez, or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fell flat — even though Senator Obama openly stated he would meet with each of these leaders personally.
President Obama is not lacking in political deftness. He skillfully fended off criticism by offering the JFK approach: “We must not negotiate out of fear. But we must also not fear to negotiate.”
Obama’s approach, like President Kennedy’s, has merit. It certainly didn’t hurt the new President to do much more other than “show up” and be somebody else given the unfavorable international view of the Bush foreign policy.
So what is it that has Robert Finn so troubled?
You might ask: Who is Robert Finn and why is he troubled?
He’s actually “Bishop” Robert Finn, the Bishop for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and he is troubled not so much by President Obama’s controversial commencement address at Notre Dame as he’s troubled by one word, in particular, uttered by President Obama during that address.
The word is “irreconcilable.”
President Obama declared he and the Church have “irreconcilable” differences on the matter of abortion. To Bishop Finn’s point, these words were an admission by the President that he has shut the door on any dialogue.
“As a country we want to see an end to racial prejudice. We want a more secure peace in the world. We want sound economic justice for people. So we can’t give up on working with the administration, ” said Bishop Finn.
Finn sees a genuine role for the Church to work with the Obama administration — which protects abortion — by addressing “many associated elements that have to do with taking care of women in distress, offering alternatives to abortion.” He added, “We have to work together, discuss and study how best we can provide for the needs of women and families. How can we reduce the number of abortions? These are elements for dialogue.”
But can a dialogue even take place given the President’s declaration of “irreconcilable differences?” Is this because he knows deep in his heart abortion is wrong and he is the one fearful to negotiate?
A frequent — and often justified — criticism leveled at Obama’s predecessor was the prideful and stubborn ways of President George W. Bush which kept him from seeing the larger picture when it came to the war in Iraq and, to some extent, the war in Afghanistan. The criticism by Obama and the political Left was their assertion that there was little or no room for dialogue, much less dissent.
So what makes President Obama’s firm irreconcilable position any different from President Bush’s
And why is President Obama willing to give time to the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — a man who denies the Holocaust and seeks total destruction of Israel — but is completely unwilling to work out differences he has with the Catholic Church and her people?
A majority of Catholic voters cast their ballots for President Obama in this last election. But as issues are purportedly “irreconcilable,” will that majority of Catholic voters be there for the President during his re-election?
Source: CNA (www.catholicnewsagency.com)