President reaches out to Catholics on Ash Wednesday
February 22nd, 2012
11:29 AM ET

President reaches out to Catholics on Ash Wednesday

On this Ash Wednesday the president and first lady sent out the following greeting:

"Today, Michelle and I honor Ash Wednesday with Christians around the country and across the world. This is at once a solemn and joyous occasion, an opportunity to remember both the depths of sacrifice and the height of redemption. We join millions in entering the Lenten Season with truly thankful hearts, mindful of our faith and our obligations to one another."

The statement, aimed at the over 75 million Catholics in the United States, will likely also be welcomed by those in the Obama Administration including Vice President Biden, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius and Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough.

Topics: Catholic vote • President Obama • The Buzz

soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. arale norimaki

    The First Amendment provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...." and Article VI specifies that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." The modern concept of a wholly secular government is sometimes credited to the writings of English philosopher John Locke, but the phrase "separation of church and state" in this context is generally traced to a January 1, 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, addressed to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut, and published in a Massachusetts newspaper. Echoing the language of the founder of the first Baptist church in America, Roger Williams—who had written in 1644 of "hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world"— Jefferson wrote, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

    February 22, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • cheif

      i read all that and happen top recall up to 10 million native americans were killed or their lands taken away at the hands of these man and over 1500 treaties they broke with the native americans.... god bless america

      February 22, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
      • sickofitinca

        Great rant chief, but it is off point.

        February 22, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
      • Bill in STL

        Did you seriously mean to spell Chief that way???

        February 22, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • sickofitinca

      the Freedom OF religion is often interpreted as freedom FROM religion. Ask the ACLU and all of the cities that they have sued to have their manger scenes taken down during the Christmas season, all of the crosses found on public property, etc. there is NO separation of church and state other than the state cannot interfere in the church and shall not make any law that supports any one faith. The colonists were sick of having to go to the Church of England that gave the King kickbacks from the offering plate and sanctioned his multiple marriages.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  2. eric calderone

    Jefferson was a Deist and a staunch anti-Catholic. Perhaps among atheists and agnostics he enjoys some credibility on matters pertaining to religion, but no where else.

    February 22, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Chris Kleinhofs

      Thank you Eric. Most people forget to mention Jefferson wasn't a Christian.

      February 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • sickofitinca

      Most people also forget that there was a LOT of one religion against another in the colonial times. Baptists hated the Episcopalians and so on. James Madison was shocked as he went around the country and saw the things that were done if you didn't subscribe to one religion or another. In his diary he described a scene where baptists went into their church and closed the door and the Episcopalians threw snakes in the windows of the building. That was also one of the reasons behind the 1st Amendment.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  3. judy

    git a grip all you repo nutjobs. I don't know why the evangelicals are upset they preach agains all this stuff. Obama 2010

    February 22, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • NOvember 2012

      I don't see Christians rioting and burning flags and killing their own people... as the muslims are doing today in the mid-east... and you have a problem with must be one sick little girl

      February 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
      • jean2009

        Maybe you best rethink those remarks.

        February 22, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
      • Bill in STL

        That was some site jean.... felt like I was in the middle of a vast chorus of hawkers selling their wares..... Typical all that is bad about the Catholic church.... Sigh... IS that the best you can do? Most Catholics know are well aware of these facts and they choose not to repeat them. It seems that you want to visit the sins of any Catholic that ever lived on any catholic today.... your justificaionfor that ???? Well everyone knows that any other religion is better that Catholocism...Every intelectual knows that...... Right???

        February 22, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Bill in STL

      He was not up for re-elction in 2010 ..... or do you mean 2012? 😉

      February 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Bill in STL

      I have never know of an Evnagelical Catholic.... Mostly Evangelicals are trying to proseltyze Catholics.

      IF Evangelicals are upset perhaps it is because they see the goverment now meddling in religion and they worry that they may be next?

      February 22, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
      • TERMOYL

        As if the evangelicals haven't been meddling in politics for decades...

        February 23, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  4. NOvember 2012

    obama must live in his own head...we all know who he is, he is a phony. Why waist your time barack? Oh, your followers will believe you...they know no different....ignorant.

    February 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm |

      Seems as if someone is definitely living in their head...

      February 23, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  5. marla

    Is nothing sacred with Obama? He is turning Lent into a political platform? Again – all talk. He is blue smoke and mirrors. This healthcare issue has nothing to do with birth control and everything to do with forcing any individual or institution to act in violation of their beliefs – religious or any belief! What they are obligating Churches to do is no different than if they compelled a conscientious objector to provide butter to a waring nation so they could afford to buy arms. Facilitating an act against your beliefs is no different than commiting that act. You are participating in the offense.

    February 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  6. Joey

    This is a bit odd, he hammers the Catholics over the contraception/abortion insurance issue and now he wants to make up to them? It's the same with his latest corporate tax proposal, didn't he spend the last 3 years saying they weren't paying enough? About 1 year ago he also appointed a commission to look into price gouging by the oil companies, what ever happened with that? Why can't CNN do some real reporting and answer these simple questions?

    February 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • sickofitinca

      His corporate tax rate change is a wolf in sheep's clothing. He also taxes ALL of the money Corporations make anywhere in the world, not just the money they make here. He also applies a surtax for money that they bring back into the country. So they are taxed here, taxed there and then taxed again if they bring the money they earned outside back in. tax then not once, not twice, but three times. He also taxes the people that make money outside the US if you make over $200,000 per year inside or outside the US.

      If this passes (and it won't) the corporations will just move their headquarters out of the US so they are not subjected to the tax laws here.

      A new report just out today...Great Britain increased taxes to 50% and they are not bringing less money than when the rates were 35%. The corporations had massive layoffs and are not selling as much as they were prior to the tax increase. People don't have as much money in their pockets to buy much more than food and necessities.

      February 22, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Bill in STL

      The waffle from the political cartoons of youre come to mind here...

      February 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • victoria stork

      I am not voting for any person who wants to give government support to Planned Parenthood (supports murdering babies by sticking an object in it head at 8 months to kill it). Wants to force Catholic organizations to provide insurance that has abortion benefits in it. Wants to decrease our Nuclear arms by 80%, when Iran is increasing at every opportunity. When he hides everything he has done to degrade our economy!!!. Wants to legalized millions of illegals just to get their vote. Why is the liberal and conservative media not really reporting how he is weakening the United States as a country.

      February 23, 2012 at 6:39 am |
  7. Raymond Ryan

    Obama needs to first RESCIND the HHS fiat. Then come bearing gifts. Talk is cheap. God bless us all. Raymond

    February 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  8. JB Sullivan

    Catholic bishops have a weak theological argument regarding contraception.. As a catholic, I find bishops to be irrelevant. The people will lead.

    February 22, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Bill in STL

      Yes .... a cafeteria Catholic.... there are a lot of them in this country .... You know the ones... I'll have a little of this and a little of that .... But no I won't have anything that might mean I have to think beyond myself... You betcha

      February 22, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
      • RealisticCatholic

        And as a Catholic, I'm sure you too are a "cafeteria Catholic" Bill. There is no such thing as 100% doctrine following Catholic, as only God is infalliable. You also make the assumption that individual priests and bishops always tell their congregations to follow Rome on contraception. Well you are WRONG. Two of the priests I had growing up, as well as our Bishop encouraged us to use birth control if it suited our family. Who is right? I know in my heart, as well as many Bishops, Priests, and devout followers know, that contraception to prevent children that you can not support in your marriage is not a sin, and if fact is probably preferred by God. Doctrine of the Church constantly changes. The Catholic school I grew up in during the 90s still followed the no meat on Fridays, even though that doctrine was changed by Paul VI's Apostolic Constitution on Penance in 1966. If the next Pope says that contraception is not a sin, then it will change. This is not a biblical commandment, but rather a human made mandate. Do no presume to judge other Catholics for decisions they have made, prayed, and even have been encouraged to do. You have not right.

        February 23, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • eric calderone

      While I am not impressed by many American Catholic bishops, I do not know how any Catholic can say that they are irrelevant to one's Catholic faith. They are princes of the Church, and if you find them irrelevant, in effect you find the Church irrelevant to your faith. That would make you a NON-catholic faith.

      February 23, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  9. James

    To Little, too late–I'm not not feel'in the Love–

    February 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  10. Joe

    I don't understand about all this contraception stuff.
    he is not forcing anyone to be on it.
    He is simply making it free for women who want it. If you are catholic and don't believe in contraception then don't take it.
    I know there are a lot of Catholic women on birth control that would love not to have to pay for it.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  11. Texas Voter Tax Payer

    I hate to say it but, who cares about the Catholics in Politics??? They can go back to molesting kids.

    February 22, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  12. Bill in STL

    Dear Mr. President

    You now attempt to reach out with an olive branch after the attempted governmental influencing that you attempted toexercise on Catholics in the United States. You can say what ever you want about Catholics in the United States ignoring that particular tennat of our faith all you want. Your supporrters are already doing that for you so you may as well jointhe chorus. It does not change the fact that, YOU attempted to meddle in the tennants of a religion. YOU stepped across that sacred boundry of seperation of church and state and attempted to coerce a religous organization to conform to state promoted ethics.

    What was your intent? Was it to change Catholicism to a state acceptable religion? Was it an attempt to foment hatred for the Catholic church inthe United States of America? Did you think that Catholics were so ignorant that they would let this one slide? You are treading onvery thin ice as this particular item is in the realm of moral ethics... and as all people the attempt to legilate morality is always what happens before the fall.

    Sad to say Mr. President I reject your olive branch, and I seriously doubt that you truly understnd the meaning of this time. The wonder of the story of so selfless a love that all was sacraficed for us... The glory revealed at the time of the ressurection.



    February 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • victoria stork

      I agree totally!!!!

      February 23, 2012 at 6:45 am |