A senior Vatican official has attacked US President Barack Obama for "arrogance" for overturning a ban on state funding for family-planning groups that carry out or facilitate abortions overseas.
It is "the arrogance of someone who believes they are right, in signing a decree which will open the door to abortion and thus to the destruction of human life," Archbishop Rino Fisichella was quoted as saying by the Corriere della Sera daily.
"What is important is to know how to listen... without locking oneself into ideological visions with the arrogance of a person who, having the power, thinks they can decide on life and death," he added.
Mr Obama signed the executive order cancelling the eight-year-old restrictions on Friday, the third full day of his presidency.
The restrictions had cut off US funding to overseas family planning clinics which provide any abortion services whatsoever, from the operation itself to counselling, referrals or post-abortion services.
Announcing the decision, Mr Obama said that for the past eight years the restrictions have undermined efforts to promote safe and effective voluntary family planning in developing countries.