Vatican official warns of 'apocalyptic' Obama presidency
November 17, 2008
The former president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity said that "American suffered a cultural earthquake" with the presidential election of Barack Obama, and warned that the Obama administration will sorely test Christians. "For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal," Cardinal James Francis Stafford told an audience at the Catholic University of America. "We will know that garden." He alluded to the "extremist anti-life platform" that Obama had promoted during his campaign, and said the incoming President's impact on Christian living could be "aggressive, disruptive, and apocalyptic."
The cardinal, speaking at an event hosted by the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, centered his remarks on the 1968 papal encyclical Humanae Vitae. In the 40 years since the appearance of that encyclical, he said, "the United States has been thrown upon ruins." Comparing the tumultuous year of the encyclical's release with the year of the Obama victory, he said: "If 1968 was the year of America's suicide attempt, 2008 is the year of America's exhaustion."
Cardinal Stafford, who is now the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, is a native of Baltimore, Maryland. Before his 1996 appointment to head the Pontifical Council for the Laity-- a post he held until 2003-- he had been Bishop of Memphis, Tennessee; and later Archbishop of Denver. He was raised to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II in 1998.
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