Thursday, April 03, 2008

Will the Pope "Interfere" in U.S. Elections? [UPDATED]

In addition to Christopher Blosser's coverage of Pope Benedict's apostolic journey to the U.S. at Benedict in America, you should definitely check out National Catholic Register Senior Writer Tim Drake's excellent and comprehensive coverage of the Holy Father's visit at

Yesterday Tim posted the following about concerns that Pope Benedict might try to influence the outcome of the U.S. Presidential Election:
An article at enters into the speculation surrounding the "political" nature that the Pope's visit might be spun into. One recoils at the headline - "Pope to Interfere in U.S. Politics." The Pope isn't going to interfere.

The article claims that by stressing the Church's teaching on the sanctity of life, that the Pope will be seen as supporting a particular candidate.

Some commentators have voiced the opinion that there are no "perfect" political candidates. Others have weighed in why their particular candidate is more aligned with Church teachings. To do so is to miss the higher reason for the Pope's visit. He does not come as a politician. He comes as the leader of the Catholic Church, with a message to give to the Church and to the U.S. about our higher calling. He comes to call us back to Jesus Christ and to the ideals upon which this country was founded.

We should be grateful that the Pope has chosen to come to the U.S. during an election year. One individual I spoke with worked for the Church under the leadership of President Gerald Ford. He told me that President Ford was pressuring Washington, D.C.'s then-Cardinal Baum to have Pope Paul VI visit the U.S. According to this source, the Vatican chose not to visit largely because it was an election year. Hence, Pope John Paul II didn't come until after President Jimmy Carter was elected.
If anyone tries to turn the Pope's visit for political advantage, I'm quite sure it won't be with the Holy Father's blessing. I've already blogged here that I hope none of the candidates try to score some cheap and cynical photo op out of his visit.

As for those concerned that the Pope's emphasis on the sanctity of life will disadvantage the prospects of your party's candidate, don't blame Benedict; blame your party and its candidates for their lousy record on life issues.

Also, be sure to check out Tim's complete coverage of political angles regarding the Pope's visit under the label "Politics and the Pope"

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
George Weigel: Pope Unlikely to Denounce "Great Satan Bush"

Voice of the Faithful to "Get Message Out" During Papal Visit

Benedict in America

Inside Catholic: "McCain and the Pope"

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