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Why Barack Obama has to be seen as an enemy of the Catholic Church

We need to be alert: he is not without influence, even on this side of the pond

By on Friday, 25 February 2011

President Barack Obama waves when he came to the graduation ceremony at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in 2009  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

President Barack Obama waves when he came to the graduation ceremony at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana in 2009 (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Is Barack Obama the most anti-Catholic American president in living memory?

I don’t mean, of course, that he has openly attacked the Church (though it was noted that, at his inauguration as president, contrary to normal practice there was among the clergy invited to attend not one single Catholic, though he made a point of inviting the controversial — because openly and actively homosexual — Episcopalian (i.e. Anglican) bishop, Gene Robinson).

What I mean, though, is that across the whole spectrum of contemporary moral issues, he is passionately committed to a series of views which run directly contrary to those of the Church. All this has caused at least one Catholic bishop (there are probably others) to call him anti-Catholic.

As a Senator, he supported sex education, to be provided by Planned Parenthood, to children of five years old. He consistently voted for abortion, including partial birth abortion. He voted (twice) against Bills prohibiting public funding of abortions; he voted in favour of expanding embryonic stem cell research; he voted against notifying parents of minors who had undergone out-of-state abortions; he voted for a proposal to vote $100,000,000 for the funding of sex-education and contraceptives (including abortifacients) for teenagers; he opposed the “Born Alive Infants Protection Act” on the Senate floor and in 2003 killed the bill in committee. This would have outlawed “live birth abortion,” where labor is induced and an infant is delivered prematurely and then allowed to die.

In the US, Catholics, of course, have noted all this, though their reaction to it has been inconsistent to say the least. In April 2009, the supposedly Catholic University of Notre Dame scandalously conferred on him an honorary degree. Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St Paul and Minneapolis protested, and demanded that the invitation be withdrawn. His letter, to the president of Notre Dame, Fr John Jenkins (a Catholic priest, if you please) was a real stonker:

“Dear Father Jenkins:

“I have just learned that you, as President of the University of Notre Dame, have invited President Barack Obama to be the graduation commencement speaker at the University’s exercises on May 17, 2009. I was also informed that you will confer on the president an honorary doctor of laws degree, one of the highest honors bestowed by your institution.

“I write to protest this egregious decision on your part. President Obama has been a pro-abortion legislator. He has indicated, especially since he took office, his deliberate disregard of the unborn by lifting the ban on embryonic stem cell research, by promoting the FOCA [Freedom of Choice Act] agenda and by his open support for gay rights throughout this country.

“It is a travesty that the University of Notre Dame, considered by many to be a Catholic University, should give its public support to such an anti-Catholic politician.

“I hope that you are able to reconsider this decision. If not, please do not expect me to support your University in the future.

“Sincerely yours,

“The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis”

Obama now has the institution of marriage in his sights. He last year issued a “proclamation” (which you can read on the White House website) on the occasion of the “Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Pride month”, indicating his intention to “give committed gay couples the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple, and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act….”, and his conviction that “An important chapter in our great, unfinished story is the movement for fairness and equality on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.”

The Defense of Marriage Act was, ironically, signed into law by another Democratic President, Bill Clinton. Under the law no state (or other political subdivision within the United States) needs to treat as a marriage a same-sex relationship considered to be a marriage in another state; it defines marriage clearly as a legal union between one man and one woman. It passed both houses of Congress by large majorities: Obama has no chance of getting it repealed. So he is now doing what he can to undermine it. This is where things get complicated for a limey who doesn’t quite understand the convolutions of the American legal system. According to the CNS,

“In a Feb. 23 statement, Attorney General Eric Holder said that although the administration has defended the 1996 law [i.e. the Defense of Marriage Act] in some federal courts, it will not continue to do so in cases pending in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Unlike in the previous cases, said Holder, the 2nd Circuit ‘has no established or binding standard for how laws concerning sexual orientation should be treated’.”

This, apparently, is enough to impede the Act’s operation, enough, at least, seriously to alarm the American Catholic Bishops: here’s CNS again:

The U.S. bishops’ Office of General Counsel said the Obama administration’s decision to no longer support the Defense of Marriage Act in legal challenges ahead “represents an abdication” of its “constitutional obligation to ensure that laws of the United States are faithfully executed.”

“Marriage has been understood for millennia and across cultures as the union of one man and one woman,” the office said in a statement issued Feb. 23 after President Barack Obama instructed the Justice Department to stop defending the federal law passed by Congress and signed into law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton.

That’s how things stand. How much effect in practice will Obama’s initiative actually have? Maybe someone who understands American jurisprudence better than I do can explain. At the very least, as the American bishops say, refusal to support the law is “a grave affront to the millions of Americans who both reject unjust discrimination and affirm the unique and inestimable value of marriage as between one man and one woman.”

What next? The fact is that on this side of the pond, as well as in the US, President Obama needs watching. He may have been weakened in the Congress: but a President of the United States always has considerable power, to do evil as well as to do good. He is much more popular in many European countries than he is in the States: and he is not without his influence here. A man who is admired and respected as much as he has been, and in many places still is, can do harm through his words and deeds, even where he has no direct power.

I think he ought to be admired and respected very much less than he is.

  • Anonymous

    Nobody’s suggesting hatred to homosexuals. The suggestion that is being made against homosexuality is that it, as an act, contradicts the natural purpose of marriage and sexuality which it does. Somewhere in virtually every religion are echoed the words “abhore the sin and love the sinner” which is the stance of every alledgedly homophobic religion. It’s not a phobia but a matter of principle and obedience that leads to the abhorance of homosexuality but people who practice it are as entitled to the mercy of God for their sin as any of the rest of us.

  • Anonymous

    That may be true in all fairness with regard to the regime itself. I doubt anybody’s sorry to see the back of fascist repression in any country. Rather ironically though our good LeFloch seems to be defending the only positive aspects of General Franco’s regime – his defeat of Spanish Communism and his championing of the Catholic cause in Spain. These aspects of Franco’s regime are precisely what Spain (and the rest of Europe for that matter) need to see again, but you are quite right in saying that they must not come with the same brutality and violence as the regime of General Franco

  • Robertasiena

    Obama’s ‘abortion reduction’ distortion manipulated Catholics. See “Unholy Messaging: Obama’s faith base try vs. his opinions” National Review — ‘One important part of the “faith outreach” sales pitch has been to insist that Obama would promote “abortion reduction” policies.’

  • LeFloch

    Fine. When confronted with a Red mob intent on burning down your Church and killing your priests………… all together now “All you need is Luv …… dah dah dah dah dah ………… All you need is Luv!”

  • LeFloch

    General Franco was NOT a fascist! In fact his social policy would have been more enlightened and his regime more durable if he had consistently followed the policies of The Falange. Jose Antonio Presente!

  • Chjklnps

    Thanks for raising my awareness. Too many politicians will do anything to get someone’s vote. If caring parents, and sincere Christians, joined with genuine believers of the Muslim and Jewish faiths, who acknowledge God, they would represent such a big num,ber of votes, that politicians would have to behave justly and morally to stay in power. Faith and Family go together, and we should all vote together against corruption of the young.

  • Josephsoleary

    Well said, Megan.

  • Josephsoleary

    Silliness is one thing, but “he would kill his own grandchildren” is worse than silly. The words ‘paranoia’ and ‘hate-mongering’ come to mind. Oddie should be ashamed to himself for throwing fuel on this fire.

  • Patrick O’Malley

    President Obama needs watching??

    The upper management of the Catholic Church has been proven to hide pedophiles that raped children. Not once. Thousands of times.

    Cardinal Law and hundreds like him should be in jail, and you should worry about that more than you worry about Obama.

  • Eric Conway

    Hello Fr. O’Leary. I must say I really enjoy your anti-Papal tirades in the anti-Catholic Irish media. Particularly the Irish Times. Well done, they rarely publish my pro-Catholic contributions. Say’s it all really !.

  • The_Monk

    I am more persuaded by Avery Cardinal Dulles argument than yours. His argument extends the lengthy tradition of the Church as recorded in the writings of Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, John Henry Newman and Pope Innocent III, et. al.
    Enough. You will never persuade to your opinion.

  • kitty

    Yes, many people are pro-abortion. Abortion is a lucrative financial business and as Abbey Johnson, former Planned Parenthood Employee of the Year and also Planned Parenthood Clinic director testifies, it is all about the money The more abortions the more wealthier they become. Sadly, there are also some people who still adhere to Margaret Sanger’s, founder of Planned Parenthood, ideas that certain undesirables, including blacks, should be eliminated. Abortion kills black babies at much higher rates than any other race.

  • The Blue Warrior

    Well, I understand the nature of American politics, the ideological foundations of Mr Obama’s actions and the workings Roman Catholic Church in both Britain and the US (including those who believe the Catechism of the Catholic Church is merely a suggestion), and I’d say Mr. Oddie hit a bullseye.

  • Anonymous

    Avery Cardinal Dulles [of Blessed memory] produced arguments which were sadly fallacious and grounded on half-truths, inductive extrapolation of scripture, obfuscation regarding God exercising justice [occasionally through human intermediaries] being hyperbolised into humans independently exacting justice according to God’s law, selective appeal to the Church fathers, use of a counterfactual subjunctive which watered down the historical facts which proscribed all clergy from participation in capital indictments and the expedition of sentence; and on multiple occasions a ‘cutting short’ of arguments which grounded the justification of the state exercising justice with a Divine Commission without a Divine mandate and remit! i.e. the phenomena without the noumenal reason for it. With great power come great responsibility!
    It might be deemed thoroughly indecorous to slight a renowned deceased cleric – but he was wrong – and none more so in his statement that there is nothing within the Bible which is contrary to the justice of a death penalty. What pray tell was the brand of Cain ? What did Our Lord do to the woman caught in adultery?

    The subsequent arguments ultimately collapse upon the Cardinal’s argument that we have a historical, magisteriallly-reasoned , divinely approved right to it but it must not be exercised on grounds of proportionality – a pseudo-conformity to the CCC. I personally find that position repulsive and counter-Catholic; and it does not conform to Catholic teaching – it merely agrees with the conclusion by dubious reasoning.

    The Cardinal of blessed memory was in this regard wrong for all the right reasons: Right for all the wrong ones.
    Please note he may have mentioned Aquinas and Pius XII as supporting his position, but he never mentioned their reasoning – i.e. sin made the criminal lose their human dignity – one can only infer that he knew their statements can only be deemed as mere non-doctrinal personal opinion [as are the decrees of Innocent III & Leo X] because they are anti-dogmatic

    Cardinal Dulles was a hero of mine and remains so – but his 2000 address was a dark day in the life of an illuminated man who almost always dwelled in the light of Christ. An excusable blip – an intellectual wobble -in the life of God’s good and faithful servant.

    But – and this may seem bitterly ironic – Cardinal Dulles’ argument at least had the integrity of one who believed in the position and [unsubtly] applied available resources with the best of intentions ; Cardinal Bernardin’s arguments were duplicitous and contemptible in that they were grounded in an anti-human secularist relativism laden with universalist equivocations and more than a waft of the whispers of the enemy!..

  • gatling

    Obama was elected by 55% of the people knowing he was pro choice. He retains roughly 50 % popularity. Many of the abortion votes he took as a state senator are misconstrued in this article, several have something to do with protecting the life of the mother. The attorney general has concluded after several recent circuit court rulings on this issue that the defense of marriage act would also likely be unconstitutional. This act has no real power, just a law politicians pass to look good to their constituents. perhaps the author also thinks obama is a muslim born in kenya

  • Ann_reich

    Type your comment here.You ask, “have you ever stepped foot on the ND campus? My uncle, brother, husband, 2 sons attended ND. My husband was on national alumni board, serving as president for 2 years. I have been on the campus more times that I can count. ND is no longer the great Catholic University it once was, and it breaks my heart.

  • Ronk

    Yes don’t be silly. Obama wouldn’t get the blood on his own hands. He would get a legally qualified “doctor” to kill his grandchildren who he said would be a “punishment” to his children.

  • johnny sprite

    Please give the man a break. He is an elected politician. he is entitled to his views on abortion, stem cell resaerch etc even if they are not in tandem with the Catholic Churches teaching. At least he is elected. Which of your bishops, archbishops and cardinals are elected. Yet they are proscribing teachings for others. Come on you people are just representatives of Europe’s last remaining absolute monarch….

    In life there are no permanent friends and permanent enemies. Obama is NOT the enemy because he is an elected politician. He represents All the people of America, even those who DID NOT VOTE FOR HIM. He won the second highest political prize in the world. (The highest [political and religious prize was won by Cardinal Ratzinger in 2005 when he became Pope).

    Obama has different views from the church. Your US cardinals (Wuerl,O’Malley etc) and all US archbishops should take every opportunity and every available media and television outlet and publication to educate the President. Send all your available Catholic literature on community, social, biological, medical and pro-life issues to President Obama at the White House. Send him a courier package every few months. He is a voracious reader. Your materials, teachings and appareances on TV and talk shows MIGHT influence him and MIGHT just help him change his mind on several issues. (Ok understand you are also competing with the scientist and the athesists for his attention)

  • bob

    who elected you Mr. Oddie to write and say what you are saying? I understand you are a failed priest and a drop out from the seminary. Need I say more? You sometimes write wortheless gibberish. Need I say more. Inciting hate by labelling people as the most “anti-Catholic president” is unchristian. Your silly journalism shows you depraved of basic Christian ideals of tolerance and respect of elected politicians

  • The Blue Warrior

    Since when did the right to say something become conginent on gaining someone else’s approval?

    Dr. Oddie’s claim is that “…across the whole spectrum of contemporary moral issues, [President Obama] is passionately committed to a series of views which run directly contrary to those of the Church.” He follows it up with his evidence. Refute his claim and provide your own evidence; if you can’t (or can’t be bothered), then it’s rather adolescent to resort to name calling.

    “Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.”—G.K. Chesterton

  • The Blue Warrior

    When I was a kid, I was astonished and rather proud that a Catholic priest (now President Emeritus of Notre Dame U) held the Guinness World Record for receiving the most honorary university degrees (150). Later in life, I learned of his leading role in the 1967 Land O’ Lakes Statement which undermined the authority of the bishops and effectively turned many of the Catholic Universities in the USA into CINOs. I connected the dots and tossed out the rose-coloured glasses…

  • Anonymous

    And “The dogma of tolerance cannot tolerate the Church’s belief that some ideas and behaviours should not be tolerated because they dehumanize us.” –Archbishop Charles Chaput, Denver, CO

  • BC

    I actually saw a video of him during his campaign (before he was elected) where he said (and I’m quoting this to the best of my memory…..and it was a statement I will always remember),
    ‘If my daughter made a mistake, I wouldn’t want her to be punished with a baby’.

  • Micgabrae

    What have we as a Nation become? The President of the United States of America did so solomly swear with a hand on the Bible to uphold and protect the Constitution and Laws of this country. What else has he deemed to be wrong? We are going about in Harms Way!

  • Patt

    See how superior you are? Got me judged and wrapped in a bow… But it was generous of you to let Christ “deal with me”– whatever that means. Thank you Miss Liberal Meghan of the ruffled feathers.

  • AtTheCross

    “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
    “Love one another, as I love you.”

    Jesus loves all humankind, throughout all generations, and offers forgiveness to all, including the souls crucified on his left and on his right, and those at the foot of the cross and in the crowd. Let us remember this as Lent approaches.

    He knowingly suffered the betrayal of Judas, the denial of Peter, and the desertion of many of the Twelve.

    Our one enemy is satan, who does not want people to accept Jesus’ offer of forgiveness, and who does not want us to love one another as Jesus loves us.

    As Jesus prayed for us and loved us, so we must likewise pray for and love all governmental leaders and for all citizens of each nation, and of the world.

    Jesus said, “A New Commandment I give to you, love one another as I love you.” We might also say, “A new Conscience I give to you, love one another as I love you.” This would bring to perfection, Blessed Cardinal Newman’s words about following one’s conscience, for the New Commandment is and should be everyone’s conscience, including the successor of Peter’s.

    May the Holy Trinity also grant eternal life and may perpetual light shine upon Shahbaz Bhatti of Pakistan.

    Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us. O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need of thy mercy.

  • Eric Conway

    Not paedophiles. Predatory homosexuals predominantly. In any event the Pope has apologised for this ” filth ” which infiltrated the Catholic Church. Obama & his sychophants don’t do aplogies ; he has been quite gung-ho in his support for partial birth abortion & other obscenities. Obama is of course entitled to his vile views. However he should’nt be lauded & encouraged by a nominally Catholic University for same.

  • Eric Conway

    Paulpriest, I think your heart is in the right place, but you are objectively wrong in equating abortion and capital punishment. The Catholic Church teaches that we are reasonable and rational human beings, in accord with Catholic teaching. While I would be instinctively against the death penalty, as a realist I am aware of relatively rare situations where it would be permissable. I know of one instance from my own locale, where it was’nt used and the individual on release committed a second horrific murder of an elderly woman. There is no comparison between capital punishment of a proven calculating murderer and abortion. The deliberate targeting of an innocent child in the womb is clearly on a different scale altogether.

  • Daveofthenewcity

    A couple of questions, Dr Oddie (if you are still reading the comments on this article).

    1 I’m wondering how you see the relationship between ‘The Catholic Church’ and ‘Christianity’? I note you talk in terms of ‘enemy of the Catholic Church’ and you are maybe being careful not to accuse him – as many of your supporters in the comment thread are doing – of being anti-Christian or against God.

    2 That brings me to the question of whether you will repudiate some of the more extreme sentiments in the comment thread? Some of the comments wouldn’t look out of place from a supporter of the Westboro Baptist Church. (And I take it as given that you would happily denounce them.)

  • Lena

    Well the last time the Catholic Church was involved in politics not so great things happened.

  • Fred Distefano

    Jung said it best: “Organized religion is a defense against experiencing God.”

  • Patt

    Yes, and it worked for Jung and all who wanted no direction–and certainly no church founded by the Son of God. Problem with authority…

  • John McNulty

    I find it hard to believe that he’s representing Catholics when he adopts such contrary positions. Obama won the Nobel prize for no good reason.

  • Patt

    “Give the man a break”?? Are you kidding? Are trying to be funny? The man has been given the chance to run the country and he can’t do it. A clown was elected to do a man’s job and he has failed. He runs to the golf course or to another expensive vacation while the country sinks, I pray this creep is denied another term in office, he denies the unborn life–I just want to deny his being elected again.

  • Wake-up call

    Amen! Read Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty’s Memoirs to learn the history of what can and will happen if we do not stand firm in our faith.

  • Patt

    Yeah, Obama just wants infants murdered, we shouldn’t bother with him..

  • Anonymous

    You are deluded, there is no Obama conspiracy against Catholics. In order to win in 08′, as with every president, he had to take a large proportion of the Catholics to be successful. Obama does not share your views on abortion and stem-cells no doubt, therefore he appointed people who agreed with him, obviously. (As you would in his position)

    You say he ‘handpicked’ Catholics for top positions, but I see no evidence of this, Joe Biden was the idea running-mate for Obama as he had the long-term experience Obama was being challenged for. Nancy Pelosi on the other hand had been deeply involved in the Democratic party since 1976 when she was elected as a Democratic National Committee member.

    I am entirely sick of Americans, obsessed with conspiracy theories, it is like your national sport! You disagree with the president, as simple as that, get over it.

  • Anonymous

    over 50% of American Catholics saw the truth and voted for him

  • Anonymous

    Voting Republican is not a Christian thing to do.

  • Anonymous

    boom, takedown

  • Anonymous

    ha fail

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    So Mr Oddie, lets do a test shall we? Is this politics or is this about the Catholic faith?
    If this is just about the teachings of the faith, then you will be perfectly happy to comment back denouncing President Reagan, who:

    As governor of California, Reagan signed into law liberal abortion legislation. As president, he appointed Sandra Day O’Connor who vowed never to vote against Roe V. Wade. O’Connor, on behalf of the court, wrote “at the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life.”

    If you denounce Regan, then you are perhaps more sincere then I thought; if not it will likely confirm my belief that you a right-wing political nut, scoring points and trying to influence minds. Which is it to be?

  • CiCi

    I agree. No conspiracy against Catholics. Obama is against Christianity as a whole. I did not read this article and get “conspiracy” out of it. This article is listed with facts and any Christian, Catholic or otherwise should be ashamed of themselves if they voted for this anti-Christian man.

  • jacob

    I’m American and I couldn’t agree more.

    I’m not a religious nut but it feels like the apocalypse. (I know I know Obama is obviously not the anti-Christ…he’s an Indonesian man.)

    The biggest blow for me was when at Georgetown I believe the regents or whoever bowed and covered up the INRI insignia when he gave some worthless address. I felt like I was watching a movie, the horrible irony of such an eternal thing being covered up for such a temporal evil bland message.

    Sorry but one more…it feels like Lord of the Rings. All of these old institutions which seemed like they would shine the light of the faith forever have in such a short time become such destitute places, such desperate lackeys of Harvard and Yale. (Not to take away from the brave souls who still do what those universities were founded to do!)

  • jacob

    I liked your comment…but Catholics do get special treatment as the largest most consistent face of the beliefs they hate more than anything. (Don’t you always get that feeling, on Huffington Post for instance, like they’re saying “we really really want to be friends if only you’ll be ok with abortion, gay marriage and anything else we decide is important in the future”?)

  • CiCi

    Concerning Obama, I don’t think it matters what denomination of Christian one is. I believe Obama is an atheist and Christianity is the largest and biggest threat to him in this country.

  • suzyq1957

    You are obviously misinformed.

  • CiCi

    Two years ago the American people put into office someone they knew nothing about. This man “duped” a lot of people and a lot of people have regretted their vote. BUT a lot of people still support him. I for one cannot understand how anyone can still support him. God has a plan for the 2012 election and his plan will be carried out. If there is a Republican on the ticket like Newt Gingrich and some other examples, it will be no difference. Same coin but different faces. In 2012 I will cast a vote but for the first time since I started voting, I will not vote for the “lesser of the two evils”. One more thing, did anyone notice the “look” Obama has on this picture in this article? Very Creepy.

  • CiCi

    I don’t know what the author thinks but I think that he’s an atheist and who the heck knows where this character was born. What I do know for a fact is that he has dual citizenship (he wrote it in his book) and according to our constitution our highest office cannot have a shared allegiance.