Obama Makes First Phone Call to Pope

November 13, 2008 at 1:35 am Leave a comment

pope-benedict.jpgPresident-elect Barack Obama made his first telephone call to Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday (Nov. 11), thanking the pontiff for sending a personal message of good will for his election victory, the Vatican confirmed.

“Mr. Obama made a call to the Holy Father in response to the congratulatory message the pope had sent to him upon his election. He wanted to call him, evidently, to thank him,” Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said by telephone. He gave no further details about the conversation.
Obama’s staff said that the president-elect had made similar calls of thanks to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, King Abdullah II of Jordan and President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya.
Benedict sent a telegram to Obama on Nov. 5, congratulating him on the “historic occasion” and promising his prayers that God would help the new president with the “high responsibilities to the nation and to the international community” and in his efforts “to build a world of peace, solidarity and justice.”
The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano greeted Obama’s victory with an editorial that praised America as “truly the country of the new frontier … able to overcome fractures and divisions that until only recently seemed incurable.”
Yet concerns about the Democrat and his positions on ethical issues like abortion and stem cell research are, not surprisingly, already coming to the surface. With regard to claims by Obama’s staff that loosening up President Bush’s restriction on the use of embryonic stem cells for research will be among the first things on the new president’s to-do list, Vatican leaders have staked their ground.
On Tuesday, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, reiterated the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to using embryos for scientific purposes, and said that view “applies to everyone” when asked about Obama’s reported plans.
Another top Vatican prelate, Cardinal Julian Herranz, president of the Disciplinary Commission of the Roman Curia, said in an interview in the Italian daily La Stampa that “after the sensitivity of Bush on this issue, the opposite signal is coming from America, that is that all is legitimate in the laboratory, as long as it is for therapeutic purposes.” He said in the article, “We say to Obama that life must be respected in all of its phases, from conception to a natural end.”
Source: RNS
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Entry filed under: Christian, National. Tags: , , , , , , .

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