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President Obama’s Contraceptive Mandate Could Resonate at Polls

Wednesday, 19 Sep 2012 01:34 PM

By Henry J. Reske and John Bachman

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Obama administration policy to force Catholic institutions such as universities and hospitals to provide contraceptive coverage as part of their health plans could resonate in the fall presidential election.

Thomas Patrick Melady, former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, and his wife Margaret Badum Melady, who served as president of the American University in Rome, spoke with Newsmax.TV about the controversy and events in Rome.

Watch the exclusive interview here.

“Many of the people at the Vatican level, some of whom are European, are a little bit troubled in regard to the mandate because it is a departure from our very strong religious freedom and they’ve seen some of the same aspects in Europe and how some of their own religious freedom in Europe as eroded and they’ve looked to the United States as being a beacon to support our religious freedom” Margaret Melady said.

Thomas Melady said that as the election nears there will be “some very frank discussion on this and, clearly, reading all of the Catholic literature, you see grave questions being raised.”

“So, especially when it comes to those voters, some Independent, but even some very similar to both parties who switch from time to time, don’t always vote according to the party they belong to, this could very well be a question and it will be a serious matter because it’s been such a long, long tradition in the United States – religious freedom,” he added.

  • Margaret Melady, in commenting on reports about Pope Benedict bringing Germans into the inner circle of the Vatican, noted that there has always been “intrigue in the Vatican.” She added, “Benedict has been in the Vatican for a long time. So it’s no surprise that he has certain people that he relied on during that whole period and he would rely on them now. So I don’t think it’s an abrupt change. People complain, by the way, with John Paul II being Polish and, you know, how many Poles he brought into the Vatican. Obviously, his key secretary was Polish so he was the closest person to John Paul II. It just seems like it’s very natural that this would happen.”
  • Thomas Melady, when questioned about the role of Cardinal Dolan and the possibility of an American pope, said Dolan was “an influential personality, both in the Catholic structure and the American structure.” He added, “I’ll conclude by saying that Archbishop Cardinal Dolan is a man of prominence, probably a major influential figure within the American leadership of the church, will certainly be a factor to be continued but there might be, and I’ll say this mainly as an observer, that when in that secret conclave, the one under some cardinals meet, it would be that looking at Cardinal Dolan, because he’s from the major power makes him, in looking at the whole world, particularly what some refer to as the third world – Africa, South America and so forth – where the church is growing, may say that in the best interest of the church it would be better to have considered seriously a candidate from either the African or South American continent.”

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