Friday, January 18, 2013

Next U.S. ambassador to the Vatican Draws Concerns

Washington D.C., - Amid speculation over the next U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, concerns have been raised about the possibility of appointing individuals known for criticizing the views of the bishops.

“From the steps Obama has taken in the last year, it would seem that he is trying to diminish Church influence,” a Vatican official told CNA.

The official, who requested anonymity, pointed to the administration's contraception mandate as an example. The controversial mandate, which has been repeatedly criticized by the bishops in the U.S., requires employers to offer insurance plans covering contraception, sterilization and drugs that can cause early abortions. ...

Two of the individuals listed by Allen are known for recently criticizing the stance of the U.S. bishops with regard to respect life issues and religious freedom.

One of these men is Stephen F. Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America and formerly the chair of the university’s politics department.

Schneck is affiliated with both Democrats for Life of America and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, a social justice advocacy group that has been criticized by numerous bishops for causing confusion about the priority of moral issues by downplaying the significance of fundamental matters like abortion – while giving heavy weight to issues such as the environment. ...

Another name listed as a possible contender for ambassador was Nicholas P. Cafardi, the former dean of the Duquesne University School of Law. A canon and civil lawyer, Cafardi was an original member and the second chairman of the U.S. bishops’ National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Youth.

He drew criticism with a 2008 article arguing that while he was a “committed Catholic,” he was throwing his support behind Obama for president, despite his stance on abortion.

“I believe that we have lost the abortion battle – permanently,” Cafardi said.

Catholic News Agency

By Michelle Bauman