John Allen offers his opinion in The New York Times today on Bush’s visit to Rome this week. He says that the visit could have great implications for the presidential campaign. He opines that if the Pope publicly rebukes Bush over Iraq that it will affect the Catholic vote. I’m not so sure.
For one thing, Allen is the guy who was just recently criticizing journalists for saying, “The Vatican thinks…” and said that this betrays the journalists’ ignorance of how the Vatican works. Yet here is doing just that. For another thing, the opinion of high-ranking Vatican officials has been nowhere near as synchronized on this issue as Allen says, and the Holy Father’s own opinions are not as defined as, say Cardinal Martino’s has been.
For a different preview of the meeting, see the Catholic World News article. Archbishop Lajolo, the foreign relations secretary, is saying that rather than focusing on whether the war was justified, the Pope will be looking forward to where we go from here.