The Bishop’s Ax Falls on Obama… And on the Vatican Curia

“I will always forcefully defend the right of the bishops to criticize me,” Barack Obama pledged just before his meeting with Benedict XVI last July 10. Indeed. About 80 of the Catholic bishops of the United States are in open disagreement with him on crucial questions, in primis the defense of life. Among these is Cardinal Francis George, president of the bishops’ conference and archbishop of Chicago, Obama’s city. And there’s also the bishop of Denver, Charles J. Chaput, 65, member of a Native American tribe and a Capuchin Franciscan. Last year, he published a book that starts getting its point across right from the title: “Render unto Caesar. Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life.” It is right to give Caesar that which belongs to him. But one serves the nation by living one’s own Catholic faith in political life. Chaput does not like the fact that in Rome, at the Vatican, they turn a deaf ear to the criticisms of Obama made by the American Church. He especially didn’t like the effusive praise heaped on the American president last July – in conjunction with Obama’s meeting with the pope – by a venerated cardinal of the curia, Georges Cottier of Switzerland, theologian emeritus of the pontifical household, in an article published in the magazine “30 Days.”