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Cardinal Dolan's & Pope Benedicts messages to President Obama.

At the USCCB:

Dear President Obama,In my capacity as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I write to express my congratulations on your re-election as President of the United States.The people of our country have again entrusted you with a great responsibility.The Catholic Bishops of the United States offer our prayers that God will give you strength and wisdom to meet the difficult challenges that face America.In particular, we pray that you will exercise your office to pursue the common good, especially in care of the most vulnerable among us, including the unborn, the poor, and the immigrant.We will continue to stand in defense of life, marriage, and our first, most cherished liberty, religious freedom.We pray, too, that you will help restore a sense of civility to the public order, so our public conversations may be imbued with respect and charity toward everyone.May God bless you and Vice President Biden as you prepare for your second term in service to our country and its citizens.Sincerely yours,Timothy Cardinal DolanArchbishop of New YorkPresidentUnited States Conference of Catholic Bishops

And Pope Benedict XVI's:

Benedict XVI, through the apostolic nunciature in Washington, U.S.A., has sent a message to Barack Obama, congratulating him on his re-election as president of the United States of America.In his message the Holy Father expresses his best wishes to the president on his new mandate, and gives assurances of his prayers to God to help him carry out his serious responsibilities, both in his own country and within the international community. The Pope also speaks of his hope that the ideals of freedom and justice, which guided the founding fathers of the Unites States of America, may continue to shine out as the nation progresses.Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. also made a brief comment on the re-election of President Obama. "As we all know", he said, "the U.S. president has an immense responsibility, not only in his own country but also towards the rest of the world, given the role the U.S.A. plays at an international level"."For this reason we hope that President Obama will respond to his fellow citizens' expectations, serving law and justice for the good and development of all people, and respecting essential human and spiritual values while promoting a culture of life and religious freedom".

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Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



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The link to the Pope's message doesn't work.

Apparently the Vatican hasn't made public the full text, but a bit of it is up on NCR site:

"We pray, too, that you will help restore a sense of civility to the public order, so our public conversations may be imbued with respect and charity toward everyone." That's rich.From McCarraher:Its worth noting that Bishop Jenky left the church that day unmolestedno police or National Guardsmen burst in to cart him off to Guantnamo. No churches have been invaded, locked, or razed; no priest has been forced to bless same-sex unions, nor have Catholic hospitals been compelled to perform abortions, or even to dispense a single condom. The only inconvenience Jenky has sufferedprotected by a First Amendment that has yet to be suspended by executive orderis ridicule.And not enough of it. Far from pointing out the absurdity of comparing Obama to Attila, Hitler, and Stalin, other prominent Catholics have piled on. Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco has warned of Obamas impending despotism. Cardinal Francis George of Chicago has equated our Constitutions guarantee of freedom of worship with that of the former Soviet Union. Others have compared the mandate to the persecution of priests in Mexico in the 1920s under left-wing general Plutarco Calles. The Evangelical author Eric Metaxaswhose fine biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer indicates that he ought to know betterinvoked the rise of the Nazis. Speaking at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, both encapsulated and stirred up the prevailing hysteria in asserting that never in the life of anyone present here has the religious liberty of the American people been threatened as it is today.

I don't know why Vatican Information Service moved the pope's message, but I've added the updated link.

The link you provide goes to something called "catchable fatal error," which I think is way too harsh a description of a papal message.

"We pray, too, that you will help restore a sense of civility to the public order, so our public conversations may be imbued with respect and charity toward everyone."1. President Obama manages to be charitable and respectful, even when his partners in public conversation completely lose their cool. His gentlemanly behavior is a model of civility. 2. Isn't it unseemly for the Bishops to couch personal criticism toward him in the form of a public prayer, especially when their own record on this point does not bear scrutiny?

Well its nice the Cardinal sent such warm congratulations.

I think those messages are called the "required political pucker-up!"

Cardinal Dolan's letter is insulting, and, as Susan Gannon has pointed out, it greatly offends by couching its directive tone in the form of petition to God. Catholics who voted for President Obama and Catholics who did not should be embarrassed by this gauche and inept message of "congratulations." Is this the work of USCCB staff or of the Cardinal himself? Either way, it seems to me very ill-considered.Cardinal James Gibbons must be rolling in his grave.

I am far from offended by anthing gauche from any ecclesiastical bureaucrat. It is expected behavior from those who should know better ... but obviously don't.Today is a day for Humble Pie to be served at certain bishops' dinner tables throughout the US.

"For this reason we hope that President Obama will respond to his fellow citizens expectations, serving law and justice for the good and development of all people..."It would be nice, if this year alone, we had no bishops convicted of drunk driving. I know I'm expecting a lot of my episcopal fellow citizens, but let's start there. Just no drunk driving convisitons would be a good start. Surely, all Catholcis can agree with this: We call upon our bishops to live up to our (their fellow citizens) expectations by not being convicted of any crimes this year. We pray to You, God.

Susan,Are you also beginning the canonization process for Obama? Before you do, you might want to recall that this "model of civility" went to a fundraising dinner shortly after learning that an American ambassador, his ambassador, had just been murdered, something that hadn't happen for 32 years. Some model of civility.

Little Stone- You, on the other hand, seem rather eager to demonize our President. I think it would be more productive if our Bishops, and we ourselves, prayed that we Catholics ourselves learn to show charity and respect in our public discourse. If we can learn to do that ourselves, we can then teach by example.

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