Nov 11th, 2008 | BALTIMORE -- The nation's Roman Catholic bishops vowed Tuesday to forcefully confront the Obama administration over its support for abortion rights, saying the church and religious freedom could be under attack in the new presidential administration.
In an impassioned discussion on Catholics in public life, several bishops said they would accept no compromise on abortion policy. Many condemned Catholics who had argued it was morally acceptable to back President-elect Obama because he pledged to reduce abortion rates.
And several prelates promised to call out Catholic policy makers on their failures to follow church teaching. Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Pa., said he planned to counter Vice President-elect Biden, a Catholic, Scranton native who supports abortion rights.
"I cannot have a vice president-elect coming to Scranton to say he's learned his values there when those values are utterly against the teachings of the Catholic Church," Martino said. The Obama-Biden press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the Diocese of Kansas City in Kansas said politicians "can't check your principles at the door of the legislature."
Naumann has said repeatedly that Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic Democrat who supports abortion rights, should stop taking Holy Communion until she changes her stance.
"They cannot call themselves Catholic when they violate such a core belief as the dignity of the unborn," Naumann said Tuesday.
Predictably, the usual suspects are griping:
But Dr. Patrick Whelan, a pediatrician and president of Catholic Democrats, said angry statements from church leaders were counterproductive and would only alienate Catholics.
"We're calling on the bishops to move away from the more vicious language," Whelan said. He said the church needs to act "in a more creative, constructive way," to end abortion.
Catholics United was among the groups that argued in direct mail and TV ads during the campaign that taking the "pro-life" position means more than opposing abortion rights.
Chris Korzen, the group's executive director, said, "we honestly want to move past the deadlock" on abortion. He said church leaders were making that task harder.
"What are the bishops going to do now?" Korzen said. "'They have burned a lot of bridges with the Democrats and the new administration."
Pro-Democrat Catholics are almost becoming a self-parody. The "more vicious" language? Oh, please--as if pointing out that unborn humans in utero are alive, human, and deserving of our protection is a "vicious" thing to say; no, the vice involved would be the cruel killing of those humans, not the protest against the practice, Dr. Whelan.
And Mr. Korzen makes it sound as though the bishops ought to play nicey-nice so they can keep getting such goodies as inauguration tickets and access to the White House. Newsflash: keeping the Church's teachings on abortion on the q.t. for such meaningless secular goods is a prime example of the "What profits a man..." question; nobody with a grain of sense would trade his immortal soul for five minutes in the Rose Garden.