Posted May 26, 2009
Vatican newspaper says Obama
sought 'common ground' at Notre Dame
By John Thavis
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican newspaper said U.S. President Barack Obama sought common ground on the divisive issue of abortion in his commencement address at the University of Notre Dame.
The newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, said the president also confirmed that pushing for a more liberal abortion law would not be a priority of his administration. The comments came in a L'Osservatore report May 18, the day after Obama spoke at the university in Indiana.
"The search for a common ground: This seems to be the path chosen by the president of the United States, Barack Obama, in facing the delicate question of abortion," the newspaper said.
It said Obama had set aside the "strident tone" of the 2008 political campaign on the abortion issue.
"Yesterday Obama confirmed what he expressed at his 100-day press conference at the White House, when he said that enacting a new law on abortion was not a priority of his administration," it said.
The newspaper, which was reporting on the Notre Dame commencement for the first time, acknowledged the controversy caused by the president's appearance at what it called "the most prestigious Catholic university in the United States."
"Yesterday, too, as could have been predicted, there were protests. But from the podium set up in the basketball arena, the president invited Americans of every faith and ideological conviction to 'work in common effort' to reduce the number of abortions," it said.
The newspaper noted that Obama had called for reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, facilitating adoption and supporting women who want to carry their babies to term, and that he had also spoken of drafting a "conscience clause" for medical personnel who are morally opposed to participating in abortions.