You invited a distinguished guest to your home.
They are traveling halfway around the world.
You gush endless about how swell of a guy he is.
So who do you invite to be there to help greet your guest?
If you’re the White House it’ll be people who won’t make your guest unconformable — he has too much humility for that — but could pose serious problems for him.
Of course, since the guest is Catholic it’s quite alright to do that since a number of people in politically correct circles view those that are part of one of the world’s great religions as Neanderthals.
It’s not easy being the Pope given the fact he happens to be Catholic.
The Obama Administration has invited an activist nun who leads a group aggressively criticizing Pope Francis’s “silence” on abortion and euthanasia, transgender acivitists, and the first openly gay Episcopalian bishop. On the flip side, at least the White House didn’t invite priests or ministers of other religions accused of child molestation.
Senior Vatican officials are concerned any photos taken of the pope with the “in-your-face” component of the guest list for Wednesday’s welcome ceremony may be seen as an endorsement of their activities. But then again, what were they expecting from the White House that believes lecturing people and forcing cultural changes on them by edict? They don’t engage in dialogue, respect views they disagree with, believe anyone who doesn’t have both planted firmly on their “moral” ground is immoral, and believes the art of compromise or bringing people, together means everyone else changes their views 100 percent to agree with them.
The in-your-face guest it comes with concerns many conservative Catholics have that President Obama will use the Pope’s visit to play down the difference the Vatican and White House have on the federal government mandated contraceptive coverage in health care carried by church organizations as well as same sex marriage. Obama wants to do that to emphasize common ground he has with the Pope on climate control and Cuba.
To be honest, they should expect no less. The White House — regardless of who occupies it — is driven by politics.
The Pope obviously no problems with gays per se. He’s made that clear. The issue is church doctrine which, in case anyone is wondering, is just as legitimate as liberal or conservative political doctrines. You may not agree with it, but you should respect their right to view things differently.
Before I go on, I need to make it clear I am not Catholic. And I also believe you stand behind your President whether you voted for him or her. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t respectively disagree with them.
The Vatican shouldn’t take any exception to gay Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson or even the transgender Catholics. Robinson isn’t Catholic and the transgender invitees at the end the day or just members of the flock of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide.
Sister Simone Campbell is another issue.
Inviting her to the White House to be part of the United States’ official welcoming ceremony for Pope Francis would be like the Pope invited Rush Limbaugh or Mark Huckabee to be a part of an official welcoming ceremony for President Obama at the Vatican.
To say the good sister is a bit in the face of the Vatican leadership when it comes to contraceptives is a mild understatement. And while I personally understand why she felt there was a need for herself and 60 heads of religious orders to ban together for social justice arguing why mandated health care coverage should include contraceptives, such a position clearly violates Catholic teachings.
Pope Francis will likely not be personally offended.
But we need to remember given the influence of the Vatican, Pope Francis for all practical purposes is a head of state. Diplomatic protocol should have been taken into account when cobbling together a guest list.
There are those who argue images don’t matter.
But if defenders of the White House use that as a defense of the guest list it is rich.
The Obama Administration is savvy when it comes to social media, images and the media. And while that’s been the case of Republicans and Democrats in the White House ever since the watershed debates of 1960, this presidency to its credit and to a degree its detriment has mastered the use of images.
As an American, I would expect the sitting president to bring up pressing issues that this nation has with a fellow head of state has policies that conflict directly with what this nation is pursuing for its citizens. In this case it is same sex marriage and the mandate that private sector ventures clearly away from a church’s core function that a church operates should comply with the health care law.
I also would expect the executive branch not to try and goad guests dropping by this nation’s White House.