Vatican objects to White House invitation list for papal visit

posted at 12:41 pm on September 18, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

At practically the same time that Barack Obama has decided that the US has to shut its eyes to dissenters in Cuba suffering under the yoke of oppression by the Castros, he plans to offer a lesson in dissent to Pope Francis. Obama has extended invitations for the pontiff’s first state visit to transgender activists, a gay Episcopal bishop, and the leader of a group of nuns that want changes to Catholic teachings on abortion and euthanasia. Needless to say, the Vatican is not pleased with this attempt to lecture Francis on catechesis, as longtime Vaticanista Francis X. Rocca reports for the Wall Street Journal:

On the eve of Pope Francis’s arrival in the U.S., the Vatican has taken offense at theObama administration’s decision to invite to the pope’s welcome ceremony transgender activists, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop and an activist nun who leads a group criticized by the Vatican for its silence on abortion and euthanasia.

According to a senior Vatican official, the Holy See worries that any photos of the pope with these guests at the White House welcoming ceremony next Wednesday could be interpreted as an endorsement of their activities.

The tension exemplifies concerns among conservative Catholics, including many bishops, that the White House will use the pope’s visit to play down its differences with church leaders on such contentious issues as same-sex marriage and the contraception mandate in the health care law.

I’m curious. When the Saudis visited the White House this month, did Obama invite women’s-rights activists to dinner with them? Did Obama invite Ayaan Hirsi Ali to discuss the need for reform in Islam? No? Which entity has more need for openness, inclusiveness, and tolerance?

Michael Brandon Dougherty is outraged:

That is very clearly what the White House wants to do, and the Vatican knows it. It’s also a deliberate insult to Pope Francis and to Catholics in the US. Nor is it a question of balance, either:

The presence of these figures is especially irritating, the Vatican official said, because it isn’t yet clear if the White House has invited any representatives of the U.S. anti-abortion movement, traditionally a high-priority cause for the U.S. bishops.

Don’t hold your breath. Francis plans to steer clear of dissidents in Cuba, a shameful decision probably made at least in part in deference to the political risk Obama took in normalizing relations and working to lift the embargo. In repayment, the White House wants to deliberately embarrass the Pope by sticking a thumb in his eye, and by sticking their noses into Catholic doctrine and teachings.

Josh Earnest tried waving off the problem by claiming that there will be lots of people on hand for Francis’ visit:

The White House didn’t respond to requests for comment on the Vatican’s reaction to the ceremony’s guest list. White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday he was unaware of the names of individuals on the guest list, but cautioned against drawing any conclusions on specific guests “because there will be 15,000 other people there too.”

This is, to put it frankly, complete crap. Those invitations didn’t come from The Random Catholic Generator. They went out to score points off Pope Francis, and came to light late enough that Francis may not have much choice but to put up with it. No one at the White House is “trying to avoid” it being political — they are going way out of their way to politicize this to pander to their progressive base. It’s an insult, and one that really should have the Vatican consider changing their itinerary to stick to the churches and repay the insult from Obama.

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I read most of this long and very spirited discussion, and must say it represents the best type of commentary, and well up to the high standards of HA’s folks. Particularly, this part:

Have a pleasant evening. We can fight the Left side-by-side as I harbor no ill will against anyone personally.

mankai on September 18, 2015 at 7:12 PM

Anyway, believe me, I mean it, while I come out strong debating, I truly mean it. I hope to meet you one day in Heaven and that here on Earth, you and your family receive countless of blessings from God.

Now I mean it, have a good evening.

Cpt. Kirk on September 18, 2015 at 7:16 PM

AesopFan on September 18, 2015 at 9:12 PM

Encyclical Letters of Bl. Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quidem (1856)
“Outside of the Church, nobody can hope for life or salvation unless he is excused through ignorance beyond his control.”

Encyclical Letters of Bl. Pope Pius IX Quanto Conficiamur Moerore (1863)
“There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace.”

The Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism (1891)
“If, then, we found a Protestant who never committed a mortal sin after Baptism, and who never had the slightest doubt about the truth of his religion, that person would be saved; because, being baptized, he is a member of the Church, and being free from mortal sin he is a friend of God and could not in justice be condemned to Hell.”

The Catechism of St. Pope Pius X (1910)
“If he is outside the Church through no fault of his, that is, if he is in good faith, and if he has received Baptism, or at least has the implicit desire of Baptism; and if, moreover, he sincerely seeks the truth and does God’s will as best he can, such a man is indeed separated from the body of the Church, but is united to the soul of the Church and consequently is on the way of salvation.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)
“The Catholic Church has ever taught that nothing else is needed to obtain justification than an act of perfect charity and of contrition. Whoever, under the impulse of actual grace, elicits these acts receives immediately the gift of sanctifying grace, and is numbered among the children of God. Should he die in these dispositions, he will assuredly attain heaven.”

(and many more; not sure if the citations go to the one above or the one below, not really important)

I wasn’t aware of these points of RCC doctrine, and am glad to see these statements, because I agree that they are true, and the same sentiments are part of the LDS faith (with the appropriate substitution of nouns, of course!).

AesopFan on September 18, 2015 at 9:34 PM

The pope has always been a political office, as anyone conversant in European history should know. Sometimes, a political player — a king or a president — takes advantage of greater relative power and humiliates him, as in the so-called “Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy,” when the king of France forced the Pope to stay in France under his thumb instead of going back to Rome. And often, the shoe was on the other foot, because there were many kings, but only one Pope.

For example, you have the incident of Henry IV, who was the Holy Roman Emperor in title, but none of the above in practice, who had a big dispute with the Pope, called a council of bishops and princes, and declared the Pope to be deposed, The Pope, Gregory VII, then excommunicated them all. Finally, to resolve the dispute and get back the support of the nobles, the king famously had so stand outside in the snow and wait for the Pope to remove the excommunication.

Everything about that was political, and everything about this is political.

It only seems shocking because we expect our presidents to be a bit less hostile to religious figures.

There Goes the Neighborhood on September 18, 2015 at 10:51 PM

I have also noticed how countless of conservatives, are acting no different than the crazy Liberals, and are going after Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church based on the lies and half-truths, manipulation of the media.

Cpt. Kirk on September 18, 2015 at 2:56 PM

Non-Catholics are hardly obligated to give the Pope any special treatment. If he says foolish things, like directly stating that governments should be involved in charity, then conservatives have every right to criticize him for it.

You may accept him as the Vicar of Christ, but that puts no obligation on me.

There Goes the Neighborhood on September 18, 2015 at 10:57 PM

That the Pontiff even decided to give audience to Obama, the virtual anti-Christ, says more about Francis than it does about Obama. No other Pope in my memory would give such a stage to this hater of Christianity.

Not a Catholic but, if I were, I’d be praying to God for a new leader of the Church.

TXUS on September 18, 2015 at 11:53 PM

Why is there all this fuss on who the pope is and you have to belong to a certain church? Jesus the the New Testament make it so simple to follow a child can seek Salvation. Jesus told Nicodemus that you have to be born again. Jesus also said He is the only way to the Father and to Heaven. There is no other way to get to Heaven. The Muzzzies have no Redeemer who paid the price of our sins. No other faith has it either. The Pope should worry about the millions of lost sous hell bound than worrying about worldly politics. Jesus never mentioned the sins of The Roman Empire but was only concerned about out souls. I just don’t see 4 pages of arguing about the pope or denomination that saves. Jesus saves and Him alone.

garydt on September 19, 2015 at 12:07 AM

The Pope should worry about the millions of lost sous hell bound than worrying about worldly politics.

garydt on September 19, 2015 at 12:07 AM

On that, at least, this Catholic is in full agreement.

The_Jacobite on September 19, 2015 at 5:17 AM

May have already been mentioned, but would Baracki invite those same guests to a visit by a muslim leader?

Somehow, I don’t think so. And the sycophants still keep trying to convince us Baracki is a “Christian”…

Shepherd Lover on September 19, 2015 at 9:30 AM

I’m not a Catholic, nor even a Christian, but as I understand it, your relationship with God is between you and God, and nobody else.

I don’t know if Jesus himself proclaimed Peter to be “the Vicar of Christ on Earth” or not, but I’m willing to bet he didn’t extend that authority to every Pope that followed him in perpetuity.

So if you follow that logic, the Pope is a guide, that’s all. You can say he comes highly recommended and that you trust his directions, or that you don’t trust his directions, but either way the task of bringing your soul to God ultimately lies with you, not him, yes?

Given that, I’d think the proper response to a Pope that you feel is leading vast numbers of people astray would be to pray for those people to have the sense not to fall for it. Because truly, the only person whose soul Francis imperils by giving bad advice is… his own.

You put your trust into this grown-up, this guardian, your coach, who’s been there for me. … I trust him. I did what I was told.

Um, no, you don’t. We’ve had this conversation before, over on the thread about the football players who tried to kill the ref. It makes no difference that

“Thou art Coach, and upon this rock I will build my Team, and Other Teams shall not prevail against it,”

if the coach tells you to criminally assault and batter someone, the proper answer is still “no.”

GrumpyOldFart on September 19, 2015 at 10:12 AM

It was evident all the destruction Obama would cause in 2007 if he attained the White House.

What is surprising is all the people who still like and believe in this guy.

And as for the Pope, I am wondering where the love of God is with these 2 being in such high places at the same time. It is a perfect storm.

With the invitation list to the White House during the Pope’s visit being published . . . if this Pope had an ounce of sanity he would opt out of visiting the White House – PERIOD.

Nat George on September 18, 2015 at 2:19 PM

All that’s left for 0 to do before heading on the lecture circuit is to pardon Mumia.

In Hoc Signo Vinces on September 20, 2015 at 1:36 PM

I note that the Pope wears a very large cross on a chain around his neck. I am not offended but I would think many Americans especially the King Obama supporters are offended. Therefore I petition the Pope, in the name of righteous Jesuit solipsism and Leftist doublespeak, please Jorge, remove the Cross while on American soil? /s

steveracer on September 20, 2015 at 5:15 PM

This guy needs to get out of politics and stick to spreading the word . . . the word of God, not his. He is nothing more than a typical politician.

rplat on September 20, 2015 at 6:13 PM

The pope is due to meet with Obama soon and I believe that there will be emphasis on climate change , along with slapping backs for making up with the genocidal Castro .
As the leader of the Catholic Church and leader to millions of believers–is this pope even gong to bring up abortion with the same fervor and stand for the unborn like he does for social equality? Is he going going to hammer the fact to Obama that the church does not believe in abortions? Is he going to ask why does the government even have (PLANNED PARENTHOOD)–a private business, as a budget consideration–let alone it being such a explosive moral Christian issue?
REVIEW THEIR ITINERARY , decide for yourselves !

el caldo on September 21, 2015 at 2:25 PM