In an interview that aired this morning, President Obama was asked whether he'd have too much influence over an American pope. He didn't answer the question, but he did say he hopes the next pope carries the "central message of the Gospel":
"While we're here," said the interviewer from ABC News, "a lot of eyes on Rome as the cardinals prepare to pick a new pope. And for the first time some American cardinals on the list. But what I wanted to ask you about, there seems to be some concern among Catholics there shouldn't be an American pope because that pope would be too tied to the United States government. What do think of that?"
"It seems to me that an American pope would preside just as effectively as a Polish pope or an Italian pope or a Guatemalan pope," responded the president of the United States.
The ABC newsreader asked, "And not take orders from you?"
"I don't know if you have checked lately but the Conference of Catholic Bishops here in the United States don't seem to be taking orders from me," said Obama. "My hope is, based on what I know about the Catholic Church and the terrific work that they've done around the world and certainly in this country, you know, helping those who are less fortunate, is that you have a pope who sustains and maintains what I consider the central message of the Gospel that we treat everybody as children of God and that we love them the way Jesus Christ taught us to love them."
Cardinals will not allowed to access their Twitter accounts during conclave, according to Catholic News Service. This restriction is applicable to the 9 cardinals who have Twitter accounts. In all, there are "117 red-vested princes of the church who are eligible to vote for a new pope."
Although not widely noticed, Mitt Romney seems to be on his way to capturing as much of the white evangelical vote as George W. Bush famously did in 2004. Bush got 79 percent. A Pew poll conducted before the first presidential debate had Romney getting 74 percent of white evangelicals versus 19 percent for Obama.
Addressing a largely Catholic audience Monday night at an event sponsored by the John Carroll Society in Washington, D.C., Cardinal Timothy Dolan emphasized the non-sectarian, non-partisan—catholic with a small “c”—nature of the fight for religious liberty. “It is not some far right, extremist cause,” Dolan said, but an “American human rights issue.”
On May 7, 2012, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the largest organization of rabbis in the United States, approved a resolution recognizing that the Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation that mandates employers provide access to contraceptives, abortifacient drugs, and sterilizations forces many employers to “violate the injunctions of their religion.” The RCA, which represents more than 1,000 Orthodox rabbis, urged the Obama administration to amend the regulation to protect the religious liberties of all employers.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has taken a bold stand for religious freedom. In a recent statement, titled “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” the bishops call for repeal of contraception coverage mandated by the Department of Health and Human Services. The clarified position sets up a dramatic confrontation with the Obama administration—and would, if the bishops prevail, help preserve the religious liberty of all Americans.
On Tuesday, the Vatican appointed Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput to lead Philadelphia’s Catholic population. Formerly the archbishop of Denver, Colorado, Chaput brings years of experience to the job – which he’ll need in a diocese that has been rocked by sexual abuse scandals.