USCCB will discuss abortion politics in plenary session

Take note:

Bishops to Discuss Abortion Politics in Full Assembly

The Administrative Committee of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops is that body’s highest authority outside the bishops’ plenary assemblies. The committee has been meeting in DC this week and have issued a statement endorsing prior statements from Cardinal Rigali on the matters of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Joe Biden’s Meet The Press abortion remarks.

They have further determined that the bishops as a whole will take up the issue of abortion and politics at their next plenary meeting in November.

Here the Administrative Committee’s statement:

In light of recent comments by Catholic politicians misrepresenting Catholic teaching, the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops affirms the statements that have been issued by Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William E. Lori, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine. We confirm the Catholic Church’s constant teaching about the sanctity of all human life from the moment of conception and the intrinsic evil of abortion. As the teachers of the faith, we also point out the connectedness between the evil of abortion and political support for abortion. We plan to discuss the practical and pastoral implications of these serious matters at the U.S. bishops’ November 10-13, 2008 general meeting in Baltimore.

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  1. Jason Petty says:

    In related news: “This year’s shepherd’s convention will discuss issues related to the wolves always stealing our sheep. It will take place one week after the next full moon.”


  2. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Yes, it seems like they need to change the date so that their discussion will have some impact. This is disheartening, again.

  3. Brian Mershon says:

    How “timely” and special.

    Can’t be accused of being “partisan” that way, can they?

    Don’t want to jeopardize that tax exempt status now…

    [Don’t go there.]

  4. TJM says:

    How convenient. If they wait until after the election, they may be whistling Dixie. An Obama regime/Dem Congress won’t help the cause of the unborn. Tom

  5. magdalen says:

    Well that is nice. Will they just agree to disagree and that each bishop can do whatever
    he pleases in his own diocese like they did before? Hmmm…and after the election too; how
    convenient. Lets see the number has yet to reach 30 of the bishops who have spoken out pulicly about
    what the pro-death policians have said in the public sphere and how many bishops are there? 200 and some?
    Not hardly a percentage. I do not have trust that the USCCB will do much

  6. If only they’d enforce the letter of the law of Canon 915, life would be easier. The fact that they have to meet in November is a bit saddening. I hope they meet before the election, I’m not counting on it, nor the USCCB to say anything much. I pray that I’m wrong though.

  7. Hidden One says:

    Yeesh, they’re Bishops. Please, give them some respect*, or please at least disrespect them with your mouths shut and fingers not on the keyboard. Respect the alter Christi. Maybe use the time otherwise spent with snide comments on prayer?

    In any case, this is good news – the USCCB is backing the old stuff, which sets the stage for more Bishops to do more, and they ARE going to discuss this at their general meeting.

    Be charitable, and thank God for the good stuff the US Bishops are doing.

    *read as “Please give them an incredible amount of respect, as befitting their station”.

  8. ALL: I am hitting the road in a bit.

    If I find, when I arrive on the other side of the Atlantic, that people are bashing the bishops, I will simply ban them from accessing the blog for good.

    I don’t need the extra work and head ache.


    Have a nice day!


  9. Dan says:

    Let us pray that Canon 915 is enforced, just like any other law.

    God bless the shepherds of the Church.

  10. Joe says:

    Let’s be honest about something: even if the bishops met in early October, the trickle down effect to the average Catholic voter would not happen in time for elections. Most Catholics know not about the scandals of Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. That doesn’t mean pastors don’t care and their ordinaries don’t care, it’s just a slow moving process. If you ask the average parishioner if they know what Summorum Pontificum is, do you think they’d respond in the affirmative? SP was announced on 7/7/07 and effective on 9/14/07…folks, I am just saying, let’s us not be too harsh on their scheduled date: the laity need to help out our pastors and help show our lay brethren just what they’ve missed out on when they dropped out of Catholic 101: doctrine, dogma, and application. Let us pray that they meet and boldly teach and lead us in the orthodox Catholic faith.

  11. Dan says:

    That maybe, but there is still that chance that one Bishop who was sitting on the fence about enforcing Canon 915, wil come down on the side of truth before the election and perhaps save 10 babies lives by issuing orders that public figures who support murder will not recieve the Substantial Prescence.
    This in turn makes 10 people aware of the dread abomination of infanticide, which in turn spreads to 10 more and so on.
    This could possibly have an effect on the outcome of the election, and more importantly save innocent lives.
    God bless you.

  12. Mark says:

    Let’s look at this issue from a different perspective: last century Catholic immigrants to our country who settled in urban areas usually had three things in common: membership in the Catholic Church, membership in a Union, and membership in the Democratic Party.

    The question is, will this coalition remain intact indefinitely, or are there forces working against it? Also, what is the view of today’s Bishops of this coalition?

  13. Paul Murnane says:

    Remember, just the fact that the bishops will be discussing it in session is news in itself. That by itself should keep the issue simmering through the election (and we can all ensure that happening by calls, emails and letters). Hopefully those bishops who have yet to respond publicly will do so …. and before November 4!

  14. Joe says:

    Dan, I wholeheartedly agree but wrote from a position related to our lack of fervency as American Catholics. Let’s pray, write our bishops, and exhort our brothers to seek Christ’s Holy Will.


  15. supertradmom says:

    I do not mean to contradict Mark, but many of my ancestors were not members of the Democratic Party. In fact, there has been an joke in our family that one side has negated the votes of the other side, as the paternal side voted solid Republican and the maternal side voted solid Democrat for years. In recent times, this switched neatly, but thankfully, issues have always been more important than party. Assuming that all Catholic immigrants, or the poor, or women have consistently been members of the Democratic Party seems a horrible overstatement and oversimplification. Give credit to the “thinking” voter, not the “faithful party” voter.

  16. supertradmom says:

    May I also add that none of my family members, all Catholics for hundreds of years, have belonged to unions. No stereotypes, please…. There are many professions and jobs which have not been connected with unions. Again, the independent voter can perhaps “think before voting”.

  17. Martin says:

    I will be happy if the meeting is simply one four years before the next election. Long enough before to make a strong statement that cant be accused of electioneering.

  18. supertradmom says:

    How about a reminder to pray for our wonderful bishops?!

    As with politicians, we get what we want and for whom we pray.

  19. Aine says:

    The late Jesuit Father Robert Drinan: the priest who absolved pro-abortion politicians

    Fr. Drinan emboldened the wing of the Society of Jesus that equated the preaching of the Gospel with the pursuit of political activism and of social justice so-called; these priests, in turn, openly challenged and ridiculed bishops and cardinals critical of the direction of the order and of Jesuit political activism that ended in their open insubordination to legitimate authority. A few of these priests continue to this day to dissent with the Church in matters of abortion, priestly celibacy, homosexuality, and liberation theology, thanks in part to the space Fr. Drinan opened up for them.

    Fr. Drinan\’s achievements rest upon the bodies of millions of aborted babies sacrificed over the altar of his peculiar understanding of \”social justice.\” His legacy consists of the thousands of politicians, many of them \”fervent Catholics\” whose consciences he absolved through his words and example, and who continue to receive Holy Communion under grave sin without discerning the Body and the Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    This time, however, Drinan’s efforts landed him in trouble, forcing him in the end into a humiliating retreat. New York’s John Cardinal O’Connor, writing in his own archdiocesan newspaper, dramatically called Drinan to account: “You could have raised your formidable voice for life; you have raised it for death. …Hardly the role of a lawmaker. Surely, not the role of a priest.” James Cardinal Hickey, archbishop of Washington, D.C., where Drinan resides and teaches, demanded that Drinan “clarify” his position since his published comments, the cardinal’s spokesperson said, had “caused public confusion about Church teaching on abortion.”

    Not long thereafter, Drinan issued a statement “withdrawing” what he said in the New York Times and the National Catholic Reporter. After noting that he relied on what turned out to be false information concerning “the true nature and widespread use of partial-birth abortion,” Drinan reaffirmed his “total support” for the Church’s “firm condemnation of abortion.”

    The sad truth, however, is that his admission came more than 25 years too late. By 1997, Drinan’s efforts, his bad example, and the profound scandal he had given, beginning in the early 1970s, had done immeasurable damage to the pro-life cause.

    This has been going on for about 40yrs. It’ll take time to fix it and the all need to be on the same page. I think it was wise of them to meet first…

    The last link gives a brief historic outline of the ongoing discord.

  20. Robert Medonis says:

    I have done research on Lithuanians and politics in Western Pennsylvania (ie Pittsburgh and vicinity) and the Lithuanians did not join unions (United Mine Workers and United Steel Workers) until the late 30’s as the unions and the Democratic party were considered Irish Catholic institutions which promoted Irish Catholic interests and not Lithuanian interests. Yes there were Lithuanian Catholic steelworkers who voted for Republicans in the 20’s and one of the reasons was that the Republicans granted de jure recognition to the new Republic of Lithuania in 1924.

    However a lot of Lithuanians joined the Communist Party of the USA in 1919 as at its founding it was 25% Lithuanian. I still trying to figure this one out. However they left in 1940 after the Russians invaded Lithuania.

    If you want to read more google “Lithuanians and Politics in Western Pennsylvania” in the Lituanus archives.

  21. Rob says:

    The bishops’ meeting is their annual general meeting. The date is set well in advance and is usually in November.

    Supertradmom – Speaking of stereotypes, there is no need to be so pejorative about unions. Along with all that is (or was) seemy or unseemly (and there is a lot), there is much that is good and useful. Please don’t tar us all with one broad brushstroke.

  22. Chris M says:

    “How “timely” and special.”

    Yeah, tell that to Pelosi and Biden who couldn’t keep their fat traps shut about how “ardent” they were about their Catholicism while being completely WRONG about Catholicism. Repeatedly.

  23. CK says:

    Yes we have heard “some” bishops’ public witness to the “Catholic” politicians’ evil positions on life. Does anyone know just what percentage of all “other” bishops would be lax in support of strong measures against this slander? Do they wish to meet together to dilute what public education re: the Church’s always position on abortion there has been and therefore return to the “private” admonishment with no consequences? We must pray for JPII’s tool of solidarity in such grave matters. Then those bishops who are weak for once will not gain the upper hand.

    But we must also make our own views strongly understood by our bishops BEFORE such meeting and put the pressure on for that solidarity to protect the unborn from the likes of CINO politicians. This has been too much in the public’s eye and they therefore MUST act to protect the obedient faithful from any further scandal aided by their own words or lack of them.

  24. Mark says:

    Dear Supertradmom:

    Thank you for your response to my post on Catholic immigrants, Democrats, and Unions. Notice that I’ve qualified my statement with the word “usually”. It goes without saying that there were exceptions to this pattern, as you noted.

    The point in bringing up this tidbit of Catholic history in the USA is that, I my view, there was at one time a natural attraction among the three institutions. My gut feeing is that some in the upper echelons of the USA hierarchy are starting to rethink this inherited coalition. However, that is not to say they’re contemplating close ties with the GOP, but maybe a more politically neutral position. However, at the lower level, where many parishes maintain close ties with the left, it’s business as usual. For example, in my hometown, fourteen Catholic churches are listed as members of the Gamaliel Foundation. I think the political implications of such an association are obvious. So, where do we, as a Catholic Church in the USA, go from here?

    On a lighter note, may I also note that some of my family members, all Catholics for over a millennium, were probably members of Guilds, forerunners of today’s Unions. Which has absolutely no relevance to our discussion.

  25. Chris says:

    Speaker Pelosi may, just may, be in for very high office, see this piece from the BBC:

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