March 13th, 2013
08:21 AM ET
1 year ago

Obama: An American pope would 'preside just as effectively'

(CNN) - As cardinals gather at the Vatican to elect a new pope, President Barack Obama said he believes U.S. politics wouldn't stand in the way of an American pope doing his job.

"It seems to me that an American pope would preside just as effectively as a Polish pope or an Italian pope or a Guatemalan pope," the president said in an interview that aired Wednesday morning on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Since Benedict XVI resigned at the end of last month, some American names have circulated in media reports as possible contenders for the papacy, including U.S. cardinals Sean O'Malley of Boston and Timothy Dolan of New York.

Critics argue an American pope would be controversial, saying the Vatican would then be too closely tied to Washington.

Asked if an American pope would take orders from the president, Obama made a joke about the at-times thorny relationship between the Obama administration and the Catholic Church.

"I don't know if you've checked lately but the Conference of Catholic bishops here in the U.S. don't seem to be taking orders from me," he said, chuckling.

Last year, the administration faced tense scrutiny after it issued a ruling that required religiously-affiliated institutions, such as hospitals and universities, to include contraception coverage in health insurance plans for employees–a measure met with strong pushback from Catholics. The White House eventually proposed an amended ruling, allowing those institutions to opt out of the mandate.

Obama, who's not Catholic, offered no preference for the pope in the interview.

"My hope is based on what I know about the Catholic Church–and the terrific work that they've done around the world and certainly around this country helping those who are less fortunate–is that you have a pope who sustains and maintains what I consider the central message of the Gospel. We treat everybody as children of God. We love them the way Jesus Christ taught us to love them."


Filed under: Faith • President Obama
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. YBM

    The Joint Committee on Taxation recently released a 96 page report on the tax provisions associated with Affordable Care Act. The report describes the 21 tax increases included in Obamacare, totaling $1.058 trillion – a steep increase from initial assessment, according to the Tax Prof Blog. The summer 2012 estimate is nearly twice the $569 billion estimate produced at the time of the passage of the law in March 2010. -Does this really suprise anybody? Yep, we gotta vote for it to see what is in it. The "fundamental transformation of america" continues.

    March 13, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Wake up People!
    Glad you didn't bail on us!
    @ Rudy NYC:
    I'm not the "girl" that whispers and giggles at others on the water slide, that would be your girl Fair. On the contrary, I'm the one fighting for the underdog regardless of how unpopular that might make me. Christie is no underdog.

    March 13, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    Goodness. Sure is a lot of hate coming from the so called Christian side of the aisle. What's up with that, I wonder?

    March 13, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. YBM

    We're so worried about terrorists from other countries when we have the most dangerous terror organization right here in America and it's called the Obama voter.

    The most dangerous enemy this country has faced in a long time.

    March 13, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Dominican mama wrote:

    @ Rudy NYC:
    I'm not the "girl" that whispers and giggles at others on the water slide, that would be your girl Fair. On the contrary, I'm the one fighting for the underdog regardless of how unpopular that might make me. Christie is no underdog.
    ------------------
    I think you missed the joke amongst all of the word play. It's hard to explain without the moderators gonging it. It's really quite funny. The "magic mountain" is the personal water slide.

    March 13, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  6. James Bond

    Its pope bush, and cheney a close second

    March 13, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Pope Francisco. Hails from Argentina. I can hear the right wing conspiracies about Pres. Obama buying Latino votes by influencing the selection process. Heck, he already sold out the Chicago Olympics to Rio de Janeiro.

    March 13, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. Liberals Love Whining But Hate Working

    Obama's gotta through in his two cents on how someone else should behave. Obama always knows best, lol

    March 13, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Rudy NYC
    OHH!!! (She said all red-faced and quite relieved!!:)
    Yes. I missed it. It appears to be my day for apologies and misunderstandings.
    Lynda/Minnesota:
    Babe, you're on your own. I can't even help myself today,much less "the cause"! LOL!
    But before I go:
    @ Ind.
    W-H-A-T-E-V-E-R!!!!

    March 13, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    Where is Rick Santorum? I want Pope Ricky!

    March 13, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC:
    His name is Jorge.

    March 13, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    @YBM

    Well good for you. You got your comment past the moderator. What was it, two... maybe three times posting the same old, same old? Are you trying out for a record ... or something.

    Oh, BTW. My blood pressure is still holding comfortably. (in case want to give it another go around ...)

    March 13, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Is he calling himself Francisco as his new Pope name?
    Is that what you meant?
    Oh Lawd! Let me go!!!!
    ROFLMConfusedAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 13, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. Lynda/Minnesota

    Lynda/Minnesota:
    Babe, you're on your own. I can't even help myself today,much less "the cause"! LOL!
    ------

    Indeed I am ... I can't even get past the moderators, let alone the haters. LOL. Catch you later my friend.

    March 13, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC:
    His name is Jorge.
    -------------
    He will be known as "Pope Francis the First". I was listening to the Italian stream and they had called him "Francisco".

    March 13, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    Liberals Love Whining But Hate Working

    Obama's gotta through in his two cents on how someone else should behave. Obama always knows best, lol
    ************
    As per your name:

    We prop up the Red states.

    To the matter at hand:

    Terry Schaivo: what business did the Right have getting involved in family matters?

    March 13, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. Wake up People!

    @Liberals love whining yada, yada, yada.

    That would be Obama's gotta "throw", not through. We liberals love education.....

    March 13, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda/Minnesota

    @YBM

    Well good for you. You got your comment past the moderator. What was it, two... maybe three times posting the same old, same old? Are you trying out for a record ... or something.

    Oh, BTW. My blood pressure is still holding comfortably. (in case want to give it another go around ...)
    -------------------------------------------------
    That's it Lynda! Left hook, right hook, kick and knee!!!!
    Don't forget to bob and weave babe! Bob and weave!!

    March 13, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Don't forget to bob and weave babe! Bob and weave!!"

    OMG. You've got me a huffing and a puffing as it is ... !
    The tears are rolling down my cheeks.
    Thanks SO MUCH for the laughter.
    I really, really needed it today.

    March 13, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  20. don in albuquerque

    It is truely amazing to see all the hate dredged up because the POTUS states an opinion. It seems that the Prez represents everything evil to the right wing world. Well...........you guys don't know the half of it. I have it on good authority that he held the ladder for the guys who kidnapped the Lindberg baby, and he sold Gen. Custers secret battle plans to Sitting Bull.

    March 13, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Tom Paine

    My father was dying of cancer at the time of the Terry Schiavo shame. My siblings and I were so very relieved that he was able to die in the relative peace of his own home surrounded by those he loved without the fights, the nosey parkers, and a United States Congress and State Governor dictating to us what THEY thought was best for us.

    I won't even get into how great it was for him to have hospice care. It'll turn the conversation to an ugly level I'm in no mood to debate.

    March 13, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
1 2 3 4 5