26 March 2014

Vatican Radio's blunt assessment of the Obama administration

President Obama is due to arrive in Rome tomorrow this evening ahead of his audience with Pope Francis on Friday Thursday morning.

In preparation for this visit, Vatican Radio has released a helpful statistical list of the visits of U.S. Presidents with Popes and even included a rather blunt assessment of the present state of the Union:
President Obama’s first meeting with a Pope occurred in he visited Rome in 2009. His upcoming audience with Pope Francis will take place in the context of a complex phase of the administration's relations with the Church of the United States, marked, in particular, by controversy on the implementation of health care reform (the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” commonly known as “Obamacare”) having to do with rules on mandatory health care coverage of sterilization, contraception, and abortion; and on other issues at the centre of public debate in the United States, such as the legalization of homosexual marriages.
 The directness of the critique surprises me; I wonder if we shall see more of it in the coming days.


  1. Of course, there is no "mandatory coverage" of abortion in the Affordable Care Act or in the HHS policies related to its implementation. There IS mandatory coverage for a patient's decision to pursue sterilization or contraception. But not abortion. Even Vatican Radio gets things wrong now and then.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. There ARE requirements to cover abortion-inducing drugs. And testimony before the Supreme Court yesterday made it rather clear that mandatory cover of all abortion will soon be coming.

      N.B.: I deleted my previous comment because I noticed a spelling error after posting it.

    3. Father, with regard to oral contraceptives having abortifacient effects: This is frequently claimed, but most doctors (especially OB/GYNs) dispute that. The "pill" (really several different varieties of oral contraceptives) usually acts to prevent ovulation and/or fertilization (should ovulation occur).

      As for the Hobby Lobby case before SCOTUS: The court heard arguments the other day; that wasn't testimony under oath. One of the justices, I believe, asked one of the government's attorneys (arguing in favor of the contraceptive coverage mandate) what might happen if HHS, hypothetically, mandated abortion coverage at some future point. The attorney replied that such is not the case currently.

      For the record, just like you, I would be adamantly opposed to any mandatory coverage of abortion. However, I think it's important that the details of the Affordable Care Act be reported correctly -- not what *might* transpire at some future point, but what the act actually involves. There are plenty of misconceptions and lies out there about this attempt to make sure that more people have access to quality health care (e.g., Sarah Palin's irresponsible fiction about "death panels"). I don't like to imagine that Vatican Radio has fallen into that trap.

    4. There is more than one oral contraceptive, Steve. The mandate covers more than just "the pill" and does, in fact, cover abortifacients.

      What is more, the law also requires coverage of sterilizations where also imposes upon religious freedom.

      As to the lawyer's claim that abortion will not be covered in the future, we should remember the repeated refrain, "If you like your plan, you can keep it." The very passing of this law was based on lies and there is no real reason not to expect more in the future.