Election of Barack Obama makes front page in Osservatore Romano

Source: FSSPX News


 In a message sent a few hours after this election, which he described as an “historic election”, Benedict XVI offered his warm congratulations to the president elect, “to his wife and to his family.” He assured him that he would “pray to God that he would carry out his great responsibilities to his country and to the international community”, hoping “that the benediction of God would sustain him as well as the American people in order that they might build, together with all people of good will, a world of peace, solidarity and justice.”

 According to the front page of the November 6 issue of Osservatore Romano, the election of Barack Obama ushered in an era of “unity and cohesion”. The paper, which took up the slogan of the Illinois senator: “We are the United States of America” stressed the “pragmatic choice” of the American electorate which had responded to Barack Obama’s call for “a joint effort”. “Even if the desire for change is palpable,” this election should not necessarily be seen as an opposition to “something or someone”, explained Giuseppe Fiorentino in his editorial entitled “A choice which unites”. “Once again,” he wrote, the United States “has shown a new way to the rest of the world”, by electing the candidate who was able to show himself to be the more convincing and to gain the esteem of an electorate in need of renewed confidence.”

 The following day, November 7, the Vatican daily put out a study by the American institute, Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, according to which more than half of American Catholics voted for Obama. He received 54% of the Catholic vote, (compared to 45% for the Republican John McCain) gaining many votes from the Hispanic voters. In 2004, 52% of Catholics voted for the Republican candidate, George W. Bush and 47% for John Kerry.

 During his campaign, Obama turned also to the Protestants, in particular the white Evangelicals, generally considered as partisans of the Republican Party. He received a better response from the Protestants than John Kerry, gaining five points even though the white Protestants once again gave more support to the Republican candidate (54%) than to Barack Obama (45%).

 Reactions from around the world

For the Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, “the election of the first black man to the presidency of the United States was an extraordinary fact. I hope,” he said, “that Barack Obama will build up a strong rapport with Latin America and that the embargo against Cuba will be lifted, because it is unfounded.”

“With the victory of Barack Obama, it is a totally new cycle which is beginning: the great victory of one of the most fascinating sagas in history, the struggle against discrimination and for the equality of opportunity,” stated the Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, before adding in her address to the new President of the United States: “All of the world’s minorities await with the great hope that you march at their side, just as the world did with Martin Luther King.” The president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, for her part, spoke of an “historic moment”: “I know that your main concerns are social justice and equality, issues which you have resumed in the concepts of change and hope, the same things which inspire us in Chile.”

According to the president of the interim Parliament of Ecuador, Fernando Cordero, “Bush did not show enough political will to understand the diversities of the world. The new president seems like a person who is much more inclined to understand what all of humanity is living through at this time.”

The enthusiasm of Peru and Colombia was more restrained: the two governments merely hoped that the bilateral policies would continue, in particular commercial agreements and the war against drug trafficking.

Asked by the religious information service of the Italian Bishops Conference, on the election of the new American president, Mgr. Jean Sleiman, the Latin archbishop of Baghdad replied: “It is difficult to say if Obama will be better than those who preceded him. It is certain that the United States has a long term strategy here in Iraq, and therefore linked to reasons of State. Let’s wait and see.”

(Sources: Osservatore Romano/Apic/Imedia/ENI)