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. v_mag

    Lindsey said: "Obama is not Catholic so I'm sure it doesn't mean much to him. However, it would be interesting to see him sit down with an American Pope and try to explain why he supports abortion on demand."
    ------
    I'd love to have a sit-down with the new Pope and ask him why he thinks he has a right to dictate reproductive rights for the entire world. How dare he tell anyone what their medical decisions should be?

    How can an organization where 50% of the priests are homosexuals define homosexuality as a mortal sin?

    How can he be head of a world-wide pedophile organization and not lift a finger to clean things up?

    How can he pretend to follow Christ and keep living in absolute splendor and amassing vast fortunes for himself and his close associates?

    How can he justify the adoration of Mary as the "Mother of God" and regard women in general with such little respect?

    That would be a good starting point for any discussion with the new Pope. I suspect the Pope would be dumbfounded by these questions, as well he should be.

    March 13, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    -Fair is Fair

    Anyone who wants an American Pope better hope that Obama doesn't lobby for one... it will go the way of the Chicago olympics.
    ************
    And if it failed, you would be cheering....just as you did when the Olympics bid was rejected. The Right's new mantra: Down with the USA( When we are not in charge.)!!!!!!!!

    March 13, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. PhillyBuster

    Isn't it amazing how some less than intelligent persons still refer to Obama as a Muslim. Such childishness.

    March 13, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. Boudreaux

    So the devil wants to have a say who should be pope?

    March 13, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  5. Boudreaux

    I wonder if Hugo Chavez has an opinion on who should be pope at this point?

    March 13, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. Johnny 5

    America has enough pedifiles already. Keep it in Vatican City where it appears to be legal.

    March 13, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Conservastive Bill wrote:

    What ever happened to separation of church and state. President Obama has no right , no privilege to say who he wants to be pope. He doesn't need to put his two cents in. ... ...
    -------------------------–
    Read the article. He was asked a question during a TV interview. Your rant is ridiculous because you're complaining about stuff that never happened: you didn't even come close.to the factual truth

    March 13, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. TomVIO

    This story is about electing a Pope and possibly an American... Why does every comment have to mention Obama???

    Get over youselves people!!!

    I am white, neither democrat nor a republican... I am pleased with what Obama is doing as a President. He is not the best that can be, but he is certainly NOT A BAD President.

    STOP WITH ALL THIS HATE ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 13, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. just sayin

    joan
    ' However, it would be interesting to see him sit down with an American Pope and try to explain why he supports abortion on demand."
    BECAUSE women have rights to their bodies, no matter what. why should a fetus or a zygot have more rights than a woman just because she is pregnant?
    --
    not more rights, just equal rights. i thought women were all for equal rights? what gives women the right to snuff out another life?

    March 13, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. Woman In California

    No way Americans get a Pope. We have one of the most insincere Catholic bases in the world. We want to change God and His commands to fit into our lives and not follow or humble ourselves before Him. We have a lot of people over here who openly mock God and the Church in public. No way we get a Pope. The Catholics in Asia, Africa, and Southern Europe definitely won't vote for an American. They consider us a godless culture and rightfully so.

    -

    @ Matthew.
    I don't know your party affiliation and at the time, I really don't care but I'll give just about anyone credit when due and you're 100% right in your comment.

    March 13, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. plain&simple

    The most important part of the article was the last paragraph. Who disagrees with this . Only the haters.....and they have been around as long as life it self.

    March 13, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    -just sayin

    joan
    ' However, it would be interesting to see him sit down with an American Pope and try to explain why he supports abortion on demand."
    BECAUSE women have rights to their bodies, no matter what. why should a fetus or a zygot have more rights than a woman just because she is pregnant?
    -
    not more rights, just equal rights. i thought women were all for equal rights? what gives women the right to snuff out another life?
    *****************
    According to the NRA, the Second Amendment does, and she can use a large-capacity magazine when using her assault rifle.

    March 13, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. Woman In California

    What does the Muslim Obama care about the Christian world?? Other than its eradication, that is....
    -–

    Why don't you go and read the Bible and find out what a "true Christian" really is and should be doing? Once you've done that, you'll discover although our intentions are to be truly "good Christians", none of us actually are. It might surprise you and definitely reverse your judgment on the president's faith.

    March 13, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Conservastive Bill

    What ever happened to separation of church and state. President Obama has no right , no privilege to say who he wants to be pope
    -------------------------------------------------
    Please recognize one thing, the President has as much rights to express his opinion as you and any other citizen of this country.
    And please learn how to spell your name "Conservastive" before you so ridiculously go around shooting off your mouth.
    As Ann Romney would say "You people kill me".

    March 13, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Well, they just blew the white smoke up the chimney 10 minutes ago. Let's see how much influence Pres. Obama had over their choice of Pope.

    March 13, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. YBM

    @joan

    ' However, it would be interesting to see him sit down with an American Pope and try to explain why he supports abortion on demand."
    BECAUSE women have rights to their bodies, no matter what. why should a fetus or a zygot have more rights than a woman just because she is pregnant?
    --–
    Rather than "just because she is pregnant?" you really mean to say, "just because she is a slvt, and can't keep her legs closed?"

    March 13, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. John Tintle

    The hubris of Obama is as inflated as his ego. With no theological studies or expertise in his resume, he presumes to tell the leader of the world's largest Christian denomination the message of Jesus Christ. Obama's pastor and mentor, Jeremiah Wright asked God to "damn America" without any criticism from Obama. I have never heard any Pope deliver that message.

    March 13, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. YBM

    @joan

    ' However, it would be interesting to see him sit down with an American Pope and try to explain why he supports abortion on demand."
    BECAUSE women have rights to their bodies, no matter what. why should a fetus or a zygot have more rights than a woman just because she is pregnant?
    ––
    Rather than "just because she is pregnant?" you really mean to say, "just because she is a slvt, and can't keep her legs closed?"

    March 13, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The smoke is white, by the way, now everybody can voice their opinion, including the President Conservative Bill et al.
    Jeesh!

    March 13, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  20. Patrick

    Who cares what nationality the Pope is, These are just names we have come up with for borders that we drew, we are all people, and thats all that matters. It's not a game we won because the Popoe is from our country.

    March 13, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. Wake up People!

    @v_mag.
    Hats off to you! Awesome post! As usual.

    March 13, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Pope Francisco! They must still getting him outfitted and all robed up.

    March 13, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. just sayin

    The Real Tom Paine
    -just sayin
    joan
    ' However, it would be interesting to see him sit down with an American Pope and try to explain why he supports abortion on demand."
    BECAUSE women have rights to their bodies, no matter what. why should a fetus or a zygot have more rights than a woman just because she is pregnant?

    not more rights, just equal rights. i thought women were all for equal rights? what gives women the right to snuff out another life?
    *****************
    According to the NRA, the Second Amendment does, and she can use a large-capacity magazine when using her assault rifle.
    -----–
    it figures the looney left think everybody that owns a gun is a murderer. but in the case of abortion, the murder is carried out without a gun and under the guise of "health care". leftists seem to have no problem killing poor defenseless babies but want to keep convicted mass murders alive for a good long life.

    March 13, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. CJ

    Funny all these "Christians" preaching hate. I'm no expert on the teachings of Christ, but I don't think he would approve of that.

    March 13, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. bubba smith

    obama speaks in terms of an american pope cause he wanted to wear both caps............dictator (aka president) and pope.

    what an idiot.

    March 13, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
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