and said that President Obama is not "pro-abortion". So that provokes a couple of questions:
- What or who exactly is the "Vatican"?
- And what does it mean to say that someone or some group is "pro-abortion"? Can we agree with the President that no one is "pro-abortion"?
Let's start with the first question:
My friends – smart people – are angrily scratching their heads over the latest squishy musings in L’Osservatore Romano.
I have posted about this here and here. In the second case, the editor, who is a fine fellow and doing a pretty good job making the paper into something other than fishwrap, really blew it.
Here is a piece by George Weigel in National Review online with my emphases and comments.
Parsing the Vatican Newspaper
It doesn’t always speak for the pope.
May 21, 2009, 4:00 a.m.
By George Weigel
2. In the normal course of events, L’Osservatore Romano does not speak authoritatively for the Church in matters of faith, morals, or public-policy judgment. The exceptions are when a senior churchman offers a commentary on a recent papal document (an encyclical, for instance), or on those exceedingly rare occasions when an editorial in the paper is followed by three dots, or periods, a traditional convention signaling that the opinion being expressed is from “high authority.” No knowledgeable or responsible analyst of Vatican affairs would regard commissioned essays in L’Osservatore Romano, even if they appear on page one, as somehow reflecting an authoritative view from the Holy See or the Pope. The same is true for statements by the paper’s editors or editorials without the dots. [True. As I have pointed out in the past, unsigned editorials usually have more weight. And there are some which have clues that they are even more weighty.]
Read the whole thing.