"As a result, don't expect the church to stop insisting that society recognizes a specific place for marriage between a man and woman," he said.
The U.S. election had been closely watched at the Vatican because of the strong divisions that erupted during the campaign between the Obama administration and U.S. bishops over gay marriage, which Obama endorsed in May. The administration and bishops clashed more vehemently over Obama's health care mandate requiring nearly all U.S. health insurance plans to cover contraception, which the church opposes.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the contraception mandate — which exempts houses of worship but applies to faith-affiliated employers — is a violation of religious freedom.
The Vatican's reaction to Obama's re-election was tinged with such lingering criticism, with Pope Benedict XVI congratulating Obama and praying that the ideals of freedom and justice continue to be upheld.
Lombardi went further urging the administration to respect essential values in "promoting a culture of life and religious freedom" — Vatican buzzwords referring to abortion, contraception and the insurance mandate.
It was a far cry from the Vatican's enthusiastic response to Obama's election in 2008. Then, the pope termed Obama's election an "historic occasion" in a personal note of congratulations sent right after he won, a break with traditional Vatican protocol that usually sees official telegrams of congratulations sent on inauguration day.
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