.- Cardinal James Francis Stafford, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See, delivered a lecture on Thursday saying
that the future under President-elect Obama will echo Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane. Criticizing Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,” he went on to speak about a decline in respect for human life and the need for Catholics to return to the values of marriage and human dignity.Delivered at the Catholic University of America, the cardinal’s lecture was titled “Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul,” the student university paper The Tower reports. Hosted by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, his words focused upon Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, whose fortieth anniversary is marked this year. Commenting on the results of the recent presidential election,
Cardinal Stafford said on Election Day “America suffered a cultural earthquake.” The cardinal argued that President-elect Obama had campaigned on an “extremist anti-life platform” and predicted that the near future would be a time of trial.“If 1968 was the year of America’s ‘suicide attempt,’ 2008 is the year of America’s exhaustion,” he said, contrasting the year of Humane Vitae’s promulgation with this election year. “For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden,” Cardinal Stafford told his audience.
Catholics who weep the “hot, angry tears of betrayal” should try to identify with Jesus, who during his agony in the garden was “sick because of love.” The cardinal attributed America’s decline to the Supreme Court’s decisions such as the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, which imposed permissive abortion laws nationwide.“Its scrupulous meanness has had catastrophic effects upon the unity and integrity of the American republic,” Cardinal Stafford commented, according to The Tower. His theological remarks centered upon man’s relationship with God and man’s place in society. “Man is a sacred element of secular life,” he said, arguing that therefore
“man should not be held to a supreme power of state, and a person’s life cannot ultimately be controlled by government.”Cardinal Stafford also touched on the state of the family, saying that the truest reflection of the relationship between the believer and God is the relationship between husband and wife, and that contraceptive use does not fit within that relationship.