Hi Father Jim- glad to see someone new on this website, welcome.I am perplexed about something and hope you can enlighten me. I did not vote for Pres. elect Obama because he is pro-choice, even though he does have some qualities that I admire. I was surprised in the latest Catholic newspaper that I received this past Sunday stating that the Pope and the US Bishops sent letters of congratulations to him on becoming our next President-that article never mentioned the fact that he goes against the Catholic viewpoint on abortion. I would appreciate your comment on this matter- thank you in advance Father Jim. Daisey

Dear Daisey:
Thanks for your note.  It’s been a lot of fun being with all of you here on Catholic Singles so far, and I look forward to being of service to all of you and learning from all of you as well.
It seems every four years we hear how this election was even more divisive, controversial, negative than any election before.  I’m not sure if there’s some standard of measurement being used to determine that or if we just have short memories!  In 2004, I think American Catholics were in a similar complex position – John Kerry was the Democratic Party’s nominee for President and was a Catholic, but also held pro-abortion stances that the Catholic Church has consistently called an intrinsic evil.
Now the American people have elected a president who is on record as being in favor of pro-abortion legislation, such as “The Freedom of Choice Act.”  There’s understandable angst.
But in response to your concern about the Bishops and the Holy Father’s offering words of congratulations; I think that the Bishops and the Holy Father are acknowledging several important realities. 
First, we have to be grateful that a democratic, free, fair election took place.  Considering there are countries around the world where that is not the case, the Church can rejoice that in this relatively young democracy, this is the “norm.”
In addition, I would think the Church can admire that our nation in some ways has overcome racial prejudices in a way that a few decades would have seen impossible.  That Barack Obama could be the first African American elected President is a historic and proud moment for our nation.  We can give thanks that the evil of racism in some ways has been conquered.
So these expressions of congratulations shouldn’t be interpreted as an endorsement of all of President-elect Obama’s political views.  I’m sure that the Pope’s expression (which, by the way, the full text was never officially released) included his hopes and prayers that the new president would defend all human life.    Similarly, the United States Bishops in their statements offered their prayers and support, noting “We stand ready to work with you in defense and support of the life and dignity of every human person” (Cardinal Francis E. George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)
Once President Elect Obama is inaugurated, and legislations, executive orders and nominees to government positions which are a part of every new administration begin, I would imagine we will see and hear more from our Bishops on the need to support the right to life of all human beings.
In the meantime, we should continue to pray for the new President and his advisors that they will be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and always recognize that true authority comes from God alone.  
In Christ’s Peace,
Fr Jim