Sarah Palin’s firm opposition to abortion and her status as a mother of five prompted a Vatican official to describe the Republican vice president nominee as a “dream candidate.”
“I couldn't be more happy,” a U.S. church official at the Vatican told Newsmax on the condition of anonymity. “She is, in many ways, a dream candidate, at least among Americans here.”
It is impossible to speak of a collective “Vatican view” about Palin, a member of the Assemblies of God, because not all Vatican officials have the same opinions or authority. And, although the Alaska governor’s pro-life position has earned praise in the Vatican hierarchy, the church officials also say they don’t know her stances on other issues.
Archbishop Raymond Burke, who was archbishop of St. Louis until Pope Benedict XVI recently appointed him to head the Vatican’s highest court, confessed to knowing little about Palin. But he said he would be “very interested to learn more about what she thinks.”
Church officials in Europe and other parts of the world laud the pro-life credentials of Palin and Sen. John McCain at the top of the GOP ticket. But they also express uncertainty about some of her other policy positions. They refuse to specify them on the grounds that the church does not participate in electioneering.
“The church certainly supports her pro-life position,” one European official said. “But, as ever, we avoid focussing on a single issue and have to look at the wider spectrum.”
Burke also stopped short of explicitly endorsing any candidate and agreed that abortion should not be the only issue to concern Catholic voters. But life issues are the critical ones, he said.
“We cannot accept for ourselves a political leadership which does not safeguard the inviolable dignity of human life,” he said. “Are there other issues? Of course there are, but the primary issue has to be the question of human life.”
Those other moral issues, such as immigration reform and the death penalty, are connected to life questions and must be taken into consideration, he said. But they are not on the same level as procured abortion, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage, which he said are “always and everywhere wrong.”
Society has few politicians who “are completely coherent with regard to respect for human life, so we (Catholics) try to find those candidates who will most support the restoration and respect for human life in our society,” the archbishop said. “And we continue to work at the same time to encourage all political leaders to promote a civilization of life and help to overcome the culture of death.”
The Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, and his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, support abortion rights. Some Democrats have come under fire for their comments about abortion.
Biden, a Catholic, said on “Meet the Press” Sunday that, although he agrees with church teaching, he does not want to “impose” his belief on others.
His comments followed the highly controversial remarks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made on the same program two weeks ago. She described herself as an “ardent Catholic,” but made what church officials said were erroneous remarks about church teaching. Almost 30 bishops criticized her.
Increasing numbers of Americans, particularly the young, are growing sympathetic to the pro-life cause, say Burke and others, which may bode well for the Republican Party.
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