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Catholic Bishops Eye Possible Crackdown of Pro-Abortion Pols
CrossWalk ^ | 11/11/2003 | David Thibault - CNS News

Posted on 11/11/2003 9:29:19 PM PST by yonif

( - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, responding to calls that they discipline pro-abortion Catholic politicians, has established a commission to consider whether the public figures can be excommunicated, according to individuals monitoring this week's autumn convention of the bishops in Washington, D.C.

The politicians in question include Democratic presidential candidates John Kerry and Dennis Kucinich.

"This was not something that was on the agenda, but was brought up and...the first steps are being taken to seat this committee," said Joe Giganti, spokesman for the American Life League's Crusade for the Defense of Our Catholic Church, which Monday launched an ad campaign to try to persuade the bishops to take action.

Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, said the commission was approved Monday night and Dallas, Texas, Bishop Joseph Galante was selected to head the panel.

"Something had to be done with these pro-abortion politicians who claim to be Catholic," Brown said. "For 30 years, hundreds of pro-abortion Catholic politicians have created scandal in the church, and I think the bishops have finally determined that they are going to deal with this, and that is why this commission was created."

The American Life League has identified 412 state and federal politicians nationwide who have identified themselves as Catholic while also supporting abortion rights.

Sen. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Rep. Kucinich (D-Ohio) both adhere to the Catholic Church's opposition to capital punishment but are at odds with the church over abortion. Telephone calls to both presidential campaign offices went unreturned Tuesday, but Kerry's campaign website clarifies the senator's position on abortion.

In defending the right of women "to control their own bodies, their own lives and their own destinies," Kerry's website boasts: "He recently announced he will support only pro-choice judges to the Supreme Court.""

Brown pointed out: "What's really strange about Kucinich in particular is that for years, he claimed he was pro-life. When he decided to run for president, he had a conversion experience."

In fact, Kucinich's presidential campaign website acknowledges the conversion.

"I've had a journey on this issue that a year ago, before I became a candidate for president, caused me to break from a voting record that had not been pro-choice," Kucinich's website states. "After hearing from many women in my own life, and from women and men in my community and across the country, I began a more intensive dialogue on the issue. A lot of women opened their hearts to me. That dialogue led me to wholeheartedly support a woman's right to choose."

Kucinich added: "A woman can't be free unless she has this right."

The Catholic Church's Code of Canon Law 915 specifies that: "Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.""

The controversy involving pro-abortion Catholics has not been isolated to Democrats. Former Pennsylvania Republican Gov. Tom Ridge, who currently serves in the Bush administration as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, clashed with his own bishop in Erie, Pa., over the issue in 1999.

Ridge, a former altar boy and regular churchgoer, according to a Detroit News article, was told by Bishop Donald Trautman that he would not be allowed to speak at church events because of his support of abortion rights.

Later, when he was mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate to George W. Bush, Ridge's dispute with Trautman was seen as a potential turn-off for Catholic voters and viewed as a factor in Ridge being eliminated from the running.

"It's obviously pretty difficult for me because it puts me at odds with my faith community," Ridge said during the controversy.

William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, described as the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization, believes the bishops have "been getting enough heat from the people who pay the bills who are the orthodox Catholics" to look at possible changes in the way the church treats pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

"And there are enough bishops themselves who are up in arms over this thing. It's become a running joke within the Catholic community," Donohue said.

However, Donohue cautioned that if the bishops decide to establish a tougher policy on abortion, they might eventually have to deal with other thorny issues as well.

"When you go down the line of excommunication, denying the sacraments in public and things of that nature, you've opened up the door to those people who are going to say, 'Well, what about this guy who differs with the Catholic Church about the death penalty?'"

Still, Donohue said: "There's nothing that rivals the interest that the church must have about protecting innocent human life. It trumps farmers' rights, the economy and the environment.

"The fact that [the bishops are] moving in this direction, that they're being nudged to respond, I think is encouraging."

TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: catholiclist
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1 posted on 11/11/2003 9:29:20 PM PST by yonif
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To: yonif
They are beginning to realize that the Catholics who matter are those who do more than check "Catholic" on forms?
2 posted on 11/11/2003 9:39:45 PM PST by RobbyS (XP)
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To: RobbyS
Please God, they're beginning to discover that being "a sign of contradiction" can be liberating.
3 posted on 11/11/2003 9:54:30 PM PST by Romulus (Nothing really good ever happened after 1789.)
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To: yonif
Hopefully they can be nudged even more.
4 posted on 11/11/2003 9:59:14 PM PST by tiki
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To: yonif
"Catholic Bishops Eye Possible Crackdown of Pro-Abortion Pols"

Then, little hearts all a flutter and panties in a wad, they hike up their skirts and stampede shrieking for the nearest bathhouse to put such horrifying thoughts behind them.
5 posted on 11/11/2003 11:16:57 PM PST by dsc
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To: yonif; .45MAN; AAABEST; AKA Elena; al_c; american colleen; Angelus Errare; Antoninus; ...

 Catholic Family Association of America

Catholic Politician Abortion
Voting Records 1995 -2003

Catholic U.S. Senator Abortion Voting Records 1995 -2003
Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE)
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD)
Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Sen. Barbara Milkulski (D-MD)
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
Sen. Jack Reed (RI)

 4/17/03 : Govs. being updated. If you have voting records or other pertinent documentation please forward to us.
Gov. James E. McGreevey (D-NJ)
Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI)
Gov. Gray Davis, (D-CA)
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS)
 Gov. Tom Ridge (R-PA)

 Catholic U.S. Representative Abortion Voting Records 2000-2002

Rep. John Baldacci (D-ME)
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA)
Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY)
Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA)
Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA)
Rep. William Clay (D-MO)
Rep. William Coyne (D-PA)
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA)
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
Rep. Lane Evans (D-IL)
Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-TX)
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)
Rep. John Larson (D-CT)
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)
Rep. Bill Luther (D-MN)
Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA)
Rep. Karen McCarthy (D-MO)
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY)
Rep. James McGovern (D-MA)
Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA)
Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA)
Rep. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Rep. George Miller (D-CA)
Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD)
Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA)
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)
Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ)
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)
Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas)
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)
Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY)
Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA)
Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (D-NY)
Fr. Robert Drinan, S.J. (frmr US Rep)

6 posted on 11/11/2003 11:43:15 PM PST by ckca
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To: yonif
This has potential or might backfire in NY against Schumer. We'll see with his opposition.
7 posted on 11/12/2003 12:08:46 AM PST by neverdem (Say a prayer for New York both for it's lefty statism and the probability the city will be hit again)
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To: ckca
Thanks forthe ping will pass this info on..
8 posted on 11/12/2003 12:54:50 AM PST by .45MAN (We are americans bound together by history and love of freedom. We will not forget them!)
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To: yonif
I would love to see this to fruition. I think the Church's latest "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" conservative push is very refreshing, and good for business to boot.
9 posted on 11/12/2003 3:38:31 AM PST by AAABEST
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To: yonif
Excommunicating public officials is a bad idea that will eventually backfire. More than 40 years ago JFK had to campaign hard to overcome the public fear that a Catholic president would be taking orders from the Pope - at the time, the Catholic establishment in the US kept mum or actually corroborated JFK's statements that bishops wouldn't be bossing him around.

But now the Catholic establishment wants the opposite, presumably just with regard to abortion, but maybe the next step is to excommunicate public officials if they don't support public funds for parochial schools, or some other important issue (I am old enough to remember a time when doctors were legally forbidden to discuss even ordinary birth control with their patients). And they make this proposal publicly. And non-Catholics will have justification to pause at the voting booth and ask themselves if they dare to vote for a Catholic candidate who is being openly bullied to follow his Church's agenda instead of the interests and desires of the taxpayers who voted for him and pay his salary.

10 posted on 11/12/2003 4:24:47 AM PST by DonQ
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To: DonQ
Great Weasel post! Don't be a moral Catholic because the 'taxpayers' don't want you to be. Oh, but go ahead and keep calling yourself Catholic.

Either you are a Catholic or you are not. You cannot accept part of the dogmas and not others.
11 posted on 11/12/2003 4:34:14 AM PST by Smocker
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To: DonQ; dubyaismypresident; xsmommy
So you're suggesting they should put their job before their religion and spiritual base? Why worry about eternal damnation when you want a good pension plan?
12 posted on 11/12/2003 4:57:39 AM PST by secret garden
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To: RobbyS
I predict they won't do anything that doesn't put pro-death penalty politicians on the same platform as the pro-aborts. I'm sorry to say so, but these bishops are so far removed from our faith and don't want to do anything that would jeopardize their standing with the liberal elites.
13 posted on 11/12/2003 5:24:51 AM PST by old and tired
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To: yonif
Dallas, Texas, Bishop Joseph Galante was selected to head the panel.

A wise choice!

It's about time they heard our pleas. I'm looking forward to the outcome of this committee.

14 posted on 11/12/2003 5:39:45 AM PST by al_c
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To: tiki
Politicians who have sold their souls to get elected will not be moved by an excommunication. That will be for them a badge of political courage.

IMO, all this is superfluous. These annual meetings tend to distract all of us - Bishops and laity - from the rudimentary truth; Bishops have the Duty to Teach, Rule, and Sanctify. There is no need for a Bishop to be told by a Committee he ought do his job.

The Bishop could call the pols in his Diocese onto the carpet and he could have a face-to-face with these soulless cretins and first determine if they know what the Living Magisterium Teaches and the Bishop can correct any Doctrinal defecienices before warning the pols their souls are endangered if they do not repent and reform and the Bishop can tell the pols he will explain to his flock that Christians cannot in good conscience vote for any politician who votes to support abortion.

This really isn't complicated.

15 posted on 11/12/2003 5:58:28 AM PST by Catholicguy (MT1618 Church of Peter remains pure and spotless from all leading into error, or heretical fraud)
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To: Catholicguy
"This really isn't complicated."

In theory, no it is not. In practice, it will be made to be. Remember, the bishops, like most higher ups in all denominations, are at least part way political creatures. If they take a hard line on the Pro aborts, they can expect some backlash from the same politicians. Didn't a Msgr tell Former Govenor Davis he wasn't welcome because he was a pro abort? I remember that Davis and many of the "Hollywood elites" blasted the Msgr as intruding on the "persoanl rights" of poor old Davis.

My own denomination doesn't have this problem, because so far the LCMS has refused to do anything political. This is unfortunate and not the best Still, it is a problem. A few months ago, my pastor had an excellent sermon on the evil of abortion. As a result, some families have left the church. I think that is ok (if they don't believe it, why fake it?) but it has hit the budget. Maybe the bishops are in the same boat. They don't want to bit the pols to hard and cut off potential donations?
16 posted on 11/12/2003 6:15:42 AM PST by redgolum (I should know better than to post on Calvin threads......)
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To: Catholicguy
This would deter some poll who have had less than a 55% majority in his district and a substantial Catholic population. But it really needs an effective lay organization in that district to dog the poll during his campaign. Let the bishop speak out and have no public relation with the pol, more or less like ole Tom was treated by the Pennsylvania bishop and then stay out of the way while lay leaders organize what amount to a pro-life opposition. The best way is to get a candidate on the ballot if the Pubblie candidate is not strong enough on the issue. This has worked before.
17 posted on 11/12/2003 7:24:03 AM PST by RobbyS (XP)
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To: redgolum
I really don't know what prevents the Bishops from doing their duty. I just wish they did do their duty and let the chips fall were they may.
18 posted on 11/12/2003 8:37:20 AM PST by Catholicguy (MT1618 Church of Peter remains pure and spotless from all leading into error, or heretical fraud)
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To: RobbyS
That's a good point. The Bishops should do their duty and we should do ours. As you pointed out it can work and even if it failed it would work. Teaching Moral Truths always works. Any temporary negative results would be overcome in the long run. Truth is always rewarded.
19 posted on 11/12/2003 8:40:20 AM PST by Catholicguy (MT1618 Church of Peter remains pure and spotless from all leading into error, or heretical fraud)
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To: yonif
I was wondering when this would hit the media. Took one whole day. LOL!
20 posted on 11/12/2003 8:48:48 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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