From the director of the department for pastoral affairs of the Diocese of Westminster SIR – One cannot help feeling bewilderment at some elements inside the Vatican applauding the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama. (Report, October 16). We’re told that he “deserved it for his promotion of peace”, so that this presumably chimes with the Vatican Secretariat of State’s general diplomacy à propos nuclear disarmament. And yet doctrinally of course we are under no illusions as to President Obama’s rather aggressive (as far as the Church’s teaching is concerned) anti-marriage, anti-family agenda.
Both Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, have denounced the so called “gender theory” at the recent Synod as “lethal” in its menace to the family. Yet this ideology is given high priority by the Obama administration. In March this year, in his personal letter to the world’s bishops, the Holy Father spoke of how the Holy See must utilise the internet so as to have precision in both its appreciation of and commentary on current affairs. A five-minute search of its own website would have equipped the people inside the Vatican responsible for commenting on the news of the Obama Peace Prize with the Pope’s own words from the 2008 message for World Day of Peace, in which he states: “Consequently, whoever, even unknowingly, circum vents the institution of the family undermines peace in the entire community, national and international, since he weakens what is in effect the primary agency of peace.” This puts rather a different hue on the decision of the Nobel Peace Prize committee and should certainly have caused elements inside the Vatican to have pressed the pause button before issuing any rash statement of approval. Once again, in my humble opinion, following the Williamson affair and the Recife abortion case, it’s 3-0 for incorrect worldwide media perception of Catholic truth against actual truth.
Yours faithfully, EDMUND ADAMUS London SW1 From Mr John Sullivan SIR – President Obama’s differences with Catholic teaching are well known, and so it’s not surprising that some were shocked when the Vatican congratulated him on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. But it’s important not to read too much into the Vatican’s statement, which was an expression of diplomatic politeness rather than an endorsement of the President’s policies.
It is the Vatican’s time-honoured custom to congratulate the winner of the Peace Prize – whoever they may be.
Yours faithfully, JOHN SULLIVAN By email