ANALYSIS: Can Pope Francis help ‘reset’ frayed ties between Obama and the Catholic bishops?

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President Barack Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the situation in Ukraine on March 1, 2014.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Photo courtesy of White House Flickr stream

President Barack Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the situation in Ukraine on March 1, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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(RNS) The potential for a robust alliance between the White House and the nation's largest church fizzled almost from the start of Obama’s candidacy in 2007, and a relationship that started badly went downhill when he was elected.

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  • Atheist Max

    If Pope Francis doesn’t hand over the pedophile priests he should be charged with a crime as the United Nations already practically did.
    The Catholic Church is engaged in a massive coverup of pedophile priests. Evidence is not being turned over to the police.

    Clergy are not above the law.
    This is a charade. And a national disgrace.

  • Doc Anthony

    There is a price tag to your request, Max.

    If Francis initiates a serious, system-wide crackdown on the “pedophile priests”, such a move may well result in a very painful, wide-open, somebody’s-going-to-leave-this-church public discussion, regarding why so many known homosexuals were allowed to remain on duty as Catholic priests and supervisors at all.

    The bishops don’t want that kind of public embarrassment and pain. The cardinals don’t want it. The Vatican don’t want it. Most of all, Pope Francis don’t want it.

    So, you’re out of luck on your request, Max. “Handing them over” is not a bad idea. BUT, there’s no chance of it. After all, you remember what Francis said regarding those homosexual priests: “Who am I to judge?”

  • Atheist Max

    If Pope Francis cares about people; AND if he cares about children who have not yet been molested but WILL BE – and are already even now being raped – by these defrocked and unemployed, Vatican-protected priests – he will stop this nonsense immediately.

    Popes do not need to worry about re-election campaigns! It is in his hands!

    I must only conclude that he doesn’t care about people at all – especially these children.

    Therefore the entire Church is sick. It is an inhumane, uncivilized, self-righteous, uncaring monster.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Sorry, Doc, we all know those pedophile priests aren’t gay. It’s the actual gay priests who broke the code of silence and started reporting that criminal activity to law enforcement officials.

    Give up that deceitful HATE SPEECH about “gay pedophiles” right now, Doc. Anyone who can get to this web page can see, for example, the complete debunking of that hate speech here:

    Depicting gay men as a threat to children may be the single most potent weapon for stoking public fears about homosexuality — and for winning elections and referenda, as Anita Bryant found out during her successful 1977 campaign to overturn a Dade County, Fla., ordinance barring discrimination against gay people. Discredited psychologist Paul Cameron, the most ubiquitous purveyor of anti-gay junk science, has been a major promoter of this myth. Despite having been debunked repeatedly and very publicly, Cameron’s work is still widely relied upon by anti-gay organizations, although many no longer quote him by name. Others have cited a group called the American College of Pediatricians to claim, as Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council did in November 2010, that “the research is overwhelming that homosexuality poses a [molestation] danger to children.”

    According to the American Psychological Association, “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is one of the nation’s leading researchers on prejudice against sexual minorities, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.

    Anti-gay activists who make that claim allege that all men who molest male children should be seen as homosexual. But research by A. Nicholas Groth, a pioneer in the field of sexual abuse of children, shows that is not so. Groth found that there are two types of child molesters: fixated and regressive. The fixated child molester — the stereotypical pedophile — cannot be considered homosexual or heterosexual because “he often finds adults of either sex repulsive” and often molests children of both sexes. Regressive child molesters are generally attracted to other adults, but may “regress” to focusing on children when confronted with stressful situations. Groth found that the majority of regressed offenders were heterosexual in their adult relationships.

    The Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute notes that 90% of child molesters target children in their network of family and friends. Most child molesters, therefore, are not gay people lingering outside schools waiting to snatch children from the playground, as much religious-right rhetoric suggests.

    Some anti-gay ideologues cite the American College of Pediatricians’ opposition to same-sex parenting as if the organization were a legitimate professional body. In fact, the so-called college is a tiny breakaway faction of the similarly named, 60,000-member American Academy of Pediatrics that requires, as a condition of membership, that joiners “hold true to the group’s core beliefs … [including] that the traditional family unit, headed by an opposite-sex couple, poses far fewer risk factors in the adoption and raising of children.” The group’s 2010 publication Facts About Youth was described by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association as non-factual. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, was one of several legitimate researchers who said Facts misrepresented their findings. “It is disturbing to me to see special interest groups distort my scientific observations to make a point against homosexuality,” he wrote. “The information they present is misleading and incorrect.”

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  • Ron Nussbeck

    For President Obama this meeting is to lure Catholics into a false belief that he is a Christian with like minded goals as Pope Francis. More and more Catholics like myself have come to believe Obama is a Muslim pretending to be a Christian to garner votes. Obama has admitted he has Muslim Brotherhood members working in the White House, High Security Military and now his White House Chaplin is a Muslim. Obama used the Muslim Brotherhood to murder their way into the Presidency of Egypt but only to have them put on trail for murder with 529 sentenced to death yesterday. Egyptian Attorney General filed a Criminal Complaint at he International Criminal Court against Obama for crimes against humanity and aiding and abetting the murder of Christians by the Muslim Brotherhood. Obama has and is using groups linked to terrorist in Syria supplying arms and money that have murdered, raped, burned alive and tortured Christians. They have also kidnapped Nuns, killed Christians who did not convert to Islam and make other Pay a fee to be Christian. Obama has yet to publicly denounce these acts in Syria or Egypt as Pope Francis has done. Obama has removed God from nearly every quarter of military life and directed Homeland Security to consider Christians as terrorists. Obama has increase Abortions and legislation even publicly thanking God for Abortion clinics, which could only be Satan. Any meeting between Pope Francis and Obama is for a photo to convince Catholic Democrats to cast their lot with him in the November House and Senate elections. Obama is using the Pope to further his political goals while continually crushing the life out of Christians at every chance.

  • martin granm

    There you go again…ignoring the victims of protestants and secular school teachers.

  • martin granm

    barack o’Christ in no way cares for the moral stand that the Catholic Church takes on these issues. I can only hope that the Holy Father does not meet with this shame of a Christian.

  • Atheist Max

    You are incorrect.
    Secular school teachers who happen to be pedophiles are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law – there is no ‘coverup’ to protect them, or the evidence against them.

    Protestant ministers have no protectors either. There is no township with hidden files!

    But the Vatican is a city unto itself with no oversight. It already houses Cardinal Bernie Law – the KNOWN Boston Pedophile Kingpin who has a cushy apartment somewhere in Vatican city, completely off limits to the arms of Justice.

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  • Doc Anthony

    Actually, CC Man, we DO know (from the John Jay study) that the great majority — like above 80 percent — of those priest-abuse contacts were between same-sex-attracted men, (homosexual men), and young Catholic boys/teens. Brad Minor, (former literarary editor of the National Review), in his analysis of the John Jay study, points out:

    “…Yet the crisis was self-evidently homosexual in its genesis. This we know from the fact that eighty-plus percent of the abuse was same-sex, whereas sexual abuse in the larger culture is overwhelmingly heterosexual.

    “And the John Jay social scientists limited their research and analysis strictly to the abuse of minors, and so don’t present (nor did they seek) data on the extent to which priests were engaged sexually with other adult men (or women for that matter).

    “I became a Catholic at twenty-six. By the time I was twenty-seven, two young priests had come on to me sexually, which I found both repulsive and discouraging. All this played a role in my decision not to become a priest.

    If academics or bishops wish to believe the Church didn’t have a homosexual problem, they have their heads firmly inserted into quicksand. Rome’s commitment to put things right began with the 2005 directive to weed out “gays” from seminary admissions and was re-emphasized by the Holy Father in Light of the World. Cardinal Levada recently wrote a letter outlining new procedures for responding to abuse. The Vatican knows what John Jay won’t admit.”

    You ask me to give up hate speech. I ask you to give up lying.

  • Doc Anthony

    I honestly disagree that Barack Obama is a Muslim. You see, Muslims do NOT sell their souls to the Gay Marriage Cult, and Obama obviously sold his. For 25 cents or less, it seems !!!

  • Atheist Max


    You care about HONESTY?
    Those studies show why religion is completely wrong-headed and evil.

    It is a biological fact that 10% of all men are homosexual.
    But the number is actually much higher in the priesthood because it is a self-selected group known for protecting gays within its circle.
    It is also known for protecting pedophiles!

    So the church attracts both. That does not mean homosexuals are pedophiles. It means many pedophiles in the church are homosexual. That is a huge difference!

    The Church protects represses homosexuality completely – while it protects pedophiles. What could be a more destructive, corrupt DISHONEST SYSTEM?

  • Larry

    I’ve noticed you have a lot in common with the Taliban. At least you were honest enough to admit it. 🙂

  • Well Pedophile Priest will continue to be shielded by Bishops, Arch Bishops, Cardinals and I hope not the Pope…I just dont understand the issue of all protecting the Un Born but the same Priest and Clergy do nothing to Protect the Born Children. Cutt of funding to the Archdioceses in your weekly collections.Parents get your head out of the sand Priests are Raping your children and then being protected by clergy. Make it a issue I think it has as much weight as abortion in our church>>Protect your young born children when that is resolved we can get on with protesting the UNBORN
    ..Protest,Protest,Protest.. Demonstrate and make it loud and clear.

  • Atheist Max

    well said, sir.

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