More from Cardinal George on the President-Elect
We'll both help Obama and challenge him, George says
Facing the reality of an Obama presidency, the U.S. bishops intend to support the new administration but also to stress areas of disagreement, above all abortion and other “life issues,” according to Cardinal Francis George of Chicago and other bishops who spoke this morning in Baltimore.(emphasis added)
“Obama will be the president of the United States, so of course we will do our best to help him in what is a formidable task,” George said during a mid-day news conference. “Particularly because he’s from the African-American community, his success is vital to all of us.”
At the same time, George said, collaboration on matters such as poverty reduction and universal health care – areas where the social teaching of the Catholic church and positions taken by Obama during the 2008 campaign are broadly consistent – doesn't take the struggle against abortion off the table.
“It does not do away with the question of a legal system that does not protect those who cannot defend themselves, which is a very flawed constitutional order," he said.
Asked if the bishops would collaborate with Obama on social programs aimed at reducing the actual number of abortions, George said that while a connection between poverty and abortion is “still to be proven,” the church would support efforts to address the “isolation” that sometimes prompts women to consider abortion as well as social welfare programs to aid the poor.
At the same time, George said, those efforts cannot supplant the legal struggle against abortion.
Obama was elected on the economy, not on values issues, Cardinal George says
... Cardinal George also expressed his view that the election of Barack Obama as president was not a vote on the values being debated in the election, but was really a vote to rescue the economy.
“How I personally think about this last election is that it’s 1932 revisited,” he said referring to the election between President Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
“We have incumbent Republican president; a deep recession, if not a depression has begun, and once again the American voters have turned to another party to try to lift the country out of the present enormous economic difficulties.”
“I would agree that the economy is the foremost challenge. … The value questions are still there. The referenda on the nature of marriage was very clear in several states. … But the overall election, it seems to me, means that the American people are hoping for a government that will help them through the present economic debacle and that it will come from the Democratic Party,” he stated.