Election 2008 – Perspectives from Rome & the USCCB

Pope Benedict, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a dean from the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University weigh in on the results of the election.

  • Pope Benedict conveyed his congratulations to President-elect Obama in a telegram sent through the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, Mary Ann Glendon:

    The Holy Father promises Obama his prayers so that God assists him in his “weighty responsibilities at the service of the nation and the international community.”The Italian-language message expresses the Pontiff’s wish that the abundant blessings of the Lord “support you and the people of the United States in your efforts, together with all men and women of good will, to build a world of peace, solidarity and justice.”

    Francis Cardinal George sent a message of congratulations on behalf of the United States Bishops’ conference:

    I write to you, in my capacity as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, to express our congratulations on your historic election as President of the United States. The people of our country have entrusted you with a great responsibility. As Catholic Bishops, we offer our prayers that God give you strength and wisdom to meet the coming challenges.

    Our country is confronting many uncertainties. We pray that you will use the powers of your office to meet them with a special concern to defend the most vulnerable among us and heal the divisions in our country and our world. We stand ready to work with you in defense and support of the life and dignity of every human person.

    May God bless you and Vice President-elect Biden as you prepare to assume your duties in service to our country and its citizens.

  • Fr. Thomas D. Williams, Dean of theology and professor of moral theology and Catholic social thought at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome, provides “a Roman perspective on the election” in a Q&A with National Review‘s Kathryn Jean Lopez. Here’s a snippet:

    It would be rash to make a sweeping moral judgment on a group of people like the American voting public. Morality entails two dimensions: an objective dimension and a subjective dimension. The first dimension concerns whether a given choice or action is right or wrong in itself. The second dimension involves intention and moral knowledge. Our Catholic tradition has always recognized the possibility of “invincible ignorance,” whereby a person does something wrong while sincerely and perhaps blamelessly believing it to be right. I doubt many Americans voted for Obama thinking they were doing something wrong.On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that we aren’t morally responsible for this choice. Some people may have allowed more superficial concerns triumph over more weighty moral issues in determining which way they would vote. All who voted for Obama will in some way share in the responsibility for his actions as president, at least as far as they were foreseeable. As far as life issues, marriage, and school choice go (to take three key moral issues), we already know where Obama stands and what he intends to do. Personally, I wouldn’t want that on my conscience.

    Read the rest.

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