President Obama has a Catholic problem. The vituperative attacks on him over his decision to deliver the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame are evidence of a deeper disquiet because they have not been restricted to the radical pro-life fringe. Nine American bishops have publicly voiced their opposition to his going to Notre Dame. This kerfuffle was largely avoidable but the White House has seemed tone deaf to Catholic concerns since January 20.
Three days after the Inauguration, President Obama revoked the Mexico City policy that prevented government funding of overseas family planning groups if they provide information on procuring an abortion. This was expected but, the White House did not send out emissaries to argue that the change was mostly about family planning services, and that it is precisely the absence of such services that has resulted in the high abortion rates in many developing countries, including Catholic countries.