Amy Welborn also has some insightful things to say about E.J. Dionne and L’Osservatore Romano:
One of the current memes, as we say, making its way through commentary on Obama/Notre Dame and Obama/American Catholics runs something like this:
“The Pope and the Vatican don’t seem to have a problem with Obama. The Pope sent a congratulatory message to Obama. L”Osservatore Romano didn’t slam Obama as the anti-Christ in its 100-days assessment. No one in Rome has told Notre Dame they did something wrong in inviting Obama to speak and honoring him. Boy, these bishops are embarrassing themselves!”
I can’t help but wonder, though.
What if L’Osservatore Romano had run an editorial slamming Obama? What if word had come from, I don’t know, the Curial office dealing with Catholic education that Notre Dame had made a mistake in honoring Obama?
Would Dionne and those who agree with him then declare the Notre Dame invitation and honor to be a mistake because…”the Vatican” said it was?
I’m going to guess no. I’d guess the talking points would be a bit different if the wind were to blow in that direction. It would be all about Curial blindness to the American landscape, to the subtleties of the Church-state relationship in the United States…and so on.
Selective proof-texting using Rome-generated documents is nothing new, and everyone’s guilty. Guilty of highlighting statements that support our views, and ignoring those that undermine them. Guilty of treating all texts—whether they be papal encyclicals or editorials in the Vatican newspaper—as having equal weight, depending on how we would like to use them today.