Cardinal Laghi Praises Obama's Election
Cardinal Pio Laghi. a leading Vatican cardinal who was once the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States voiced optimism for relations between the Catholic Church and President-elect Barack Obama. "There are many points on which there will be agreement" with the Obama administration, said the Cardinal during a panel discussion in Rome. His Eminence said Obama's positions on health care and immigration were among the parts of his agenda "in consonance with the social doctrine of the church."
Praising Obama for running a campaign in the "spirit of national reconciliation of Lincoln," Laghi said Obama’s election as the first black president "can be considered as a liberation from that horrendous original sin that for so many years stained the face and nature of the United States, that is, slavery."
Cardinal Laghi said the Vatican is hopeful that under Obama's leadership the United States will return to acting primarily as a force for peace, especially with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It also expects Obama to act on his promise to assist the middle class and the poor, particularly with health care, he said.
The Cardinal also noted that "Obama brings with him to the White House the first Catholic vice president, Joe Biden. And I read today that Obama has put him in charge of a task force on the family. This is a good sign."
Beyond specific policy issues, Obama's election was a sign of renewed hope in "a country of hope," Cardinal Laghi said.
Laghi's comments are similiar to those of Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican newspaper, each welcomed his victory as an opportunity for a new beginning following the disastrous foreign policy failures of the Bush Administration.
Laghi helped establish full diplomatic relations between Washington and the Holy See in 1984. In early March 2003, Pope John Paul II sent Laghi back to Washington, where he met with President George W. Bush in an unsuccessful attempt to avert the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.